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Evolving as Healers
Evolving as Healers

An Interview with Bob Duggan of Tai Sophia Institute

Be Well World Staff

10/7/16 - The world lost a healer of legendary greatness this week as Bob Duggan has passed. Bob founded Tai Sophia (now Maryland University of Integrative Health), early on an acupuncture school and now so much more. Bob mentored me as I stepped into being a Wellness Publisher and I, like thousands of students of his, owe him so much. I wanted to again share our interview from 2009 as a great way to understand his work.

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Robert Duggan M.A., M.Ac., Dipl.Ac. is President and Co-Founder of the Tai Sophia Institute, an accredited institution offering master's degree and graduate certificate programs in Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, and Transformative Leadership in Laurel, Maryland. Duggan held multiple master's degrees before he attended the College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in the UK in the 70's. He and Co-Founder Dianne Connelly (whose new book excerpt appears in the book reviews) quite literally pioneered acupuncture regionally with their birthing of Tai Sophia in 1974. Bob is a national leader and sought after speaker in the Healing Arts community with lifetime-achievement-award levels of service. He graciously agreed to talk with us recently.

Be Well: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. The conversation we'd like to have today is destined for the Practitioner's Corner section of Be Well Frederick, where we address specifically the practitioners in the wellness community. So, on their behalf, what thoughts could you share with us on how we may continue to evolve as healers?

Bob: Well, I spoke at a national meeting about a year ago in Washington, it was a meeting of leaders in the integrated health and wellness field. And I think my message for you might be much like it was for them. I suggested that we are not going to make any progress until all practitioners throw away their credential cards, because they are all identified as . . . I'm an herbalist, I'm an acupuncturist, I'm a chiropractor, I'm a medical doctor, I'm a naturopath, etc. Because those labels, they divide us simply by our technique.

As far as I'm concerned, everybody is a practitioner, and everybody in America has to learn to be a healer. When I grew up in the 40's, it was very clear that the healers were the families on the block. Everybody knew the art forms to keep everybody well and moving forward; there wasn't a concept of seeing a professional. Yes, there were professionals, and there were people to fix a broken leg and the like. But in those days going to a professional was a rare thing . . . it wasn't the dependence we have today.

So the first message I have for practitioners is: Begin to think . . . are you practicing at home with your family and, do you think of yourself as a client? Because if you understand yourself as a client, then you will know what the person coming to you is longing for. We all long for the same kind of gifts of life.

And on the flip side, everyone is a healer. Because every word we speak . . . everything I say to Tim is either going inspire Tim and open Tim up, or, if I get mean with Tim, Tim will contract and feel tight. But if he feels open and inspired, I think it is well-documented that his immune system is going to be stronger. If he's upset and tight, he's going...

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