Health Professionals

“Because of my Kelee meditation practice, now I can be fully present and open when I’m with a patient,” says UCSD physician Dr. Amy Sitapati. “I can shut off thinking about what’s in my inbox or my emails.  And because I’m calm, I notice that patients are calmer and less fearful. What comes out of that are things I didn’t think I’d ever hear from patients: a vivid description of a childhood trauma, a fear of death, perhaps heartache.  More often now, they discuss the bigger, underlying issues that may be impacting their health. ”

Kelee meditation was developed 25 years ago by California author and teacher Ron W. Rathbun, and is the subject of a study recently completed at The University of California, San Diego by Dr. Daniel Lee. Participants in the study who did the practice exhibited promising drops in levels of anxiety, stress and depression as measured by standard psychological questionnaires such as the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scales (DASS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). When UCSD doctors and nurses saw the positive changes in participants, some became interested in learning to do Kelee meditation themselves, which requires two five-minute sessions a day. As a result of their Kelee practice, they report that they are delivering medical care differently now.

UCSD clinical research nurse Edward Seefried agrees that doing KM has helped him to stay present with what patients are telling him. “Now I respond in a more thoughtful and personalized way,” he says.  “For example, sometimes a patient will say, ‘I’m fine,’ but because of the Kelee practice, I can now pick up that they’re not fine, and I may comment on that. Often they will then tell me what’s really going on. They’re relieved that I can sense where they’re at and that I want to know. “

Susan Cahill, also a UCSD clinical research nurse, says, “Since learning the Kelee practice, I’m more efficient in my work; I don’t spin off on tangents. At the same time, I don’t become consumed with my job as I used to when I often worked overtime or came in on weekends.  I also notice a feeling of collegiality and respect with other nurses and doctors who are doing the Kelee practice.”  UCSD Nurse Practitioner Tari Gilbert notes that doing the Kelee practice has helped her to prioritize at work and also to avoid being “drawn into” someone else’s dysfunction, whether it’s a patient’s or coworker’s. She also notes, “I’m happy to be off the asthma meds I used to take before doing KM.” Echoing the comments of other health professionals doing Kelee meditation, Ms. Gilbert says, “Doing KM has benefitted me hugely and therefore has benefitted my patients.”

— Anita Carol Smith, writer, teacher, Kelee practitioner since 1997