Healer Q&A: Dr. Stephanie Marango on creating a coherent healing practice.
The following interview is a transcript excerpt from the Heallist podcast episode. Listen to the full audio version below and subscribe to get notified of new episodes here.
Yuli Ziv, Founder & CEO of Heallist, connects with Dr. Stephanie Marango, Dr. Stephanie Marango, an accomplished integrative physician, author, teacher, and the Founder & CEO of Coherent Health. As a graduate of top universities and an expert in psychiatry, Dr. Marango has authored various books, including Your Body and The Stars. With a distinguished background in research and psychiatry, Dr. Marango shares her expertise on how healers can integrate technology and behavioral change to create a coherent practice that benefits both the patient and the practitioner.
What does running a coherent practice mean?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: Coherence is alignment between all the parts that constitute a whole, regardless of whatever the whole is. For example, in terms of the human operating system, what are the parts that make you function harmoniously and coherently? I find the question very interesting with regards to healers as well because healers are human. However, I feel societally we've been holding healers to a separate standard. We expect them to be quote “perfect”, entirely coherent. I see coherence as a journey. I see it as a continual striving like how equilibrium is dynamic. It's not static. We think that the nutrition coach should be “perfect” in the way she eats, in the way she approaches food, because we've read her website that espouses a certain philosophy or we've seen her on social media or in a talk. That's registering as a kink in the system, a kink in coherence for us healers, who then feel some element of self-doubt, or self-questioning saying, “But I'm not perfect at eating. Can I be teaching others? I'm not perfect at yoga asana, can I be a yoga instructor?”
I would argue that their very journey of it actually makes them stronger healers. For example, many times we'll hear what we should eat, the right foods we should eat. Most of us know by now what we should be eating. When healers are on their own journey of how they make a right relationship with food healing. That's how they can best help their clients. Then not only are they in coherence with themselves, but they sink into coherence with the client's journey as well.
This is part of the rub in our society. We’re very outcome-focused. We're not journey-focused. So we believe coherence, like balance is something that can be achieved, and once we're there, there is a there, and we're all good. Versus it being a continual vibration or oscillation around a point, to a state of being.
Yuli Ziv: How does that translate into business? What does it mean to run a coherent practice for you?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: You get to define coherence. In terms of a practitioners practice, that's going to incorporate her work for sure. Also, her admin like accounting, scheduling, and invoicing. It's going to encompass communication, including emails that she puts out before and after the session. The way she communicates during a session. It encompasses the aesthetics, the visibility, how the room presents itself, or how does zoom presents itself.
The coherence there comes down to the connection between intention and execution. For whatever the practitioner wants her practice to be, whatever she wants the communication part to be, the visual part to be, the bookkeeping part to be, are they aligned within themselves and with each other? For example, are her emails professional? If she's saying that she offers one-to-one sessions, but then she's really only free for them every four months or six months, that's out of alignment, that's not coherent with the client's healing journey necessarily. She might want a practice that expands more in terms of revenue, and therefore expenses, but the bookkeeping system is a bunch of receipts shoved into a drawer that aren't going to be looked at again for a while.
There's no right or wrong here. It's just the observation of—here's what I want, here's my intent, and then the execution. But when I'm being the observer, the neutral observer, the witness of it, is it really lining up? If I'm saying I'm doing x, am I doing x, or is it really y?
How do we embrace all parts of the business?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: Part of coherence is the framework. It's the entire system. It's how admin fits into it. It can't be the thorn in your side. It needs to be one of the equally valuable Jenga blocks in the whole structure. For you, the practitioner, what is your resistance there? Right, it's interesting self-discovery. What are the internal obstacles? What are the external obstacles between you, and, in this case, admin, or whatever it may be?
Yuli Ziv: Totally, and I have to tell you myself, even not being a healer with my first business when I launched—and I always framed myself as a creative professional—when finally I stepped on my first startup journey, I realized that no one else is going to take care of my finances, my projections, and forecasts. I was forced to actually learn accounting from ground up, which I did, but I found a way to enjoy it. My way of enjoying it was making my Excel spreadsheets looking incredible with colors, and I made them look like they're works of art because that gave me the pleasure of actually playing with those numbers. Whatever it is that gets you there, I personally highly recommend and couldn't agree more to embrace and give it like a true chance to integrate into your practice.
How does technology contribute to pattern change?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: What we want is for technology to facilitate whatever our work is, and not create another huge mountain of unwanted to do, especially as we are leading lives that are just replete with technology. What I see with the practitioners on Coherent Health, in terms of the obstacles, is pattern change.
That's the big one and it's not really a surprise. That's what we knew going in because there's no software competition, there's no tech competition for us right now. The competition literally, is the practitioners in their current behavioral patterns. What they're doing, in terms of note taking, and collaborating is either not taking notes or taking notes in a handwritten journals and putting them on a shelf and not seeing them again. In terms of collaborating, it's wanting to collaborate for the most part, not knowing how and hence not doing it.
Pattern change is hard. Even when the basis is a positive pattern. It's hard to change patterns that already exist, let alone ask for someone to create a new pattern. Pattern change can create a lot of fear. The mind likes what's comfortable, it likes what's familiar, it likes what's known. It makes up a lot of different reasons and excuses to not do other things, even if those things might be better for us. With my work with pattern change, I’ve seen though, that you can overcome it.
What are the steps to pattern change?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: The first step is awareness, without self-awareness into whatever the pattern is, you're not going to be able to get to the next few steps. You have to be able to see that there's an issue, a resistance, an obstacle, or even maybe just a new direction you want to move in and own up to it. That new issue, that new direction might be as subtle is just a sense. You have to be able to hear and trust that sense. I always like the practice that turning the intangible, tangible, so even just writing down the senses, you have to be able to see in front of you, on a piece of paper is going to help step by step in forming your direction.
From awareness of whatever the particular issue or direction is, the next step is commitment. You have to be able to commit to this new path to this new change. Think to yourself, feel for yourself, what would it be like? Once you've chosen your new patterns, like better organization, or better accounting, and you've written down the qualities, now you need to get to to-do’s. You don't want them to come from a place of judgment or self-correction. You want to keep things positive. Better record-keeping is something that's more proactive to write down than “not writing in journals anymore.” Just write down a whole list of to-do’s and from that list, pick the top ones that resonate with you, pick the ones that make most sense to you. Those are the ones that are going to get done. Once you've picked a couple of them, you hone down on one of them. Maybe the to-do is learn about note taking software. That's it. It's very simple. Then you schedule it. You make it practical: Thursday, 5pm. Go online and search record-keeping software. That's your first to-do. That's all you have to do from that whole list. After you complete the step, you take the next practical one. Maybe it's more customer service to learn more about the pricing. There's no rush. I believe that the universe likes to support our steps, so as long as you keep taking steps in the “right direction,” that being whatever the direction is for you, you're going to get there.
The final part of this great pattern change plan is accountability and support. It does take a village. We are stronger together. Reach out to friends. Reach out to colleagues. Ask them for support. Maybe there's a practitioner you know, who's a record-keeping whiz, and you can meet her over coffee, and she can share tips with you based on how she does it. I found that most people actually want to help. All we have to do is ask, and then a corollary is—all we have to do is be willing to receive.
How does quantum apply to coherence and healing spaces?
Yuli Ziv: If we had to take the same concept of coherence and pattern changing and really talk about it from the energetic plane, how do you see that working within a healing practice or just building our everyday reality and expanding?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: The quantum field is a field that's ruled by perception. Schrodinger’s cat is alive or is dead, and it’s entirely up to you. Right now, as a collective, we're being asked more than ever, to take responsibility at the individual level to re-empower ourselves in terms of our perception for who we are and what we want from life, and how we are going to create it. We're creating our own reality where we are saying, the cat is alive or the cat is dead. We’re not letting anybody else tell us that. In terms of coherence, that's how we create coherence in our lives because our perception rules the roost.
At the same time, it can be really hard to separate our perception from corporations’ perceptions, the government’s perceptions, tech perceptions, billboards’, and advertisings’ perceptions to really see and feel who we are and what we want. Perception isn't just thinking. Perception refers to an entire realm of how we know. That's through all of our senses. This is the realm of potential and it's not separate from who we are. It's the fabric of who we are.
We've been living classical as possible to the exclusion of quantum, which is much more nonlinear, which is much more amorphous, which is where if we are to be coherent, it's something we have to feel and sense and perceive and understand and then strive for and attain for ourselves. It's not going to be external sources that tell us, “Here's what success is. Here's the path you need to follow. Here are the colleges you need to attend, the jobs you need to have, the house, the picket fence, the dog, all of that—to be successful.” No, the question is, “What is success to you? How does your individual life stack up around living successfully?” It might not even be future-oriented because within the quantum field, there's no linear past, present, or future.” So, today, right now, what is success and how are you living it. It's going to look different from one person to the other.
From my point of view, it's putting the emphasis on the client or the patient in terms of responsibility, in terms of perception, in terms of sensing and knowing, and then from there, going out and doing—aligning your intention, aligning with your execution at the individual level in regards to health, because right now, most of the time, our information is coming from external to us in terms of what we should be eating, how we should be living a healthy lifestyle.
The whole point of the quantum field is being able to tune into our own forces. All we need to do really is tune in and understand what that is, and then say, “thank you, but no thank you,” to the rest of the noise so that we can choose what diet we want based on a much deeper sense, a much more expansive sense than just the mental sense.
There's no one right way for every single person to eat. In fact, there's no one right way for you to eat for the rest of your life, because you're going to keep shifting as a human being the rest of your life and your dietary needs are going to change. You need to be able to tune into you. You need to be able to perceive within your field what you need.
What is the role of healers in a client’s journey to exploration?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: I see healers as guides for every person to help each person find their own healer within. I believe everyone is her own healer, everyone is her own patient.
I ultimately always try to put myself out of the job. My goal is to be able to help the folks I see to tune into themselves enough that, maybe they come see me for tune-ups, but they don't need to rely on me for information for what they need. To me, the emphasis has to do with clients. We're all clients with individual responsibility.
What advice can you give healers to advance their position?
Dr. Stephanie Marango: It takes a village. It takes the work you're doing with the Heallist to create an operating system that makes the management of the practices easier for both the practitioner and client to access. It includes the work I'm doing with Coherent Health that raises the standard of care by providing record-keeping and collaborating. The more practitioners can join forces in different ways, there is a strength in unity, and there will become more systems available to this strong network, which will then only keep increasing the visibility of the network and the visibility of each practitioner from there. The client's ability to find the practitioner become empowered by the practitioner, and so on, and so forth. Even if that involves technology, and even if tech is one of the things that makes you pause like we were talking about earlier in the conversation with pattern change, I encourage practitioners to use their perception, use that overlap between resonance and convenience, and do something they haven't done in terms of practice management and organization and systems. That will raise the standard of care they're able to give and the visibility of their work into the world.