Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H)
About Dr. Pam
I’m an integrative psychiatrist, homeopathic physician, personal and executive coach, and evolving human.
My lifelong passion has been exploring the wondrous and beautiful natural world, along with the nature of healing itself. My medical practice provides integrative treatments for adults with depression, anxiety, trauma, and stress-related health conditions.
As a multiply certified coach, I also help physicians and others reconnect with the deepest callings in their lives. This is soul work: both healing and transformative. Burnout may serve as an entry point. Finding one’s way through this transition can lead to more authentic and wholehearted living, loving, and working. We are each traveling our own unique life paths, yet most are ultimately seeking inner peace. This capacity is within each of us. My work helps clear away the underbrush to a simpler, kinder experience of our lives, relationships, and careers.
Though my training and background are firmly grounded in conventional medicine, I’ve gone beyond this in serving patients who haven’t responded to typical treatments. Some of this work includes:
Learning to effectively apply all this has required many years’ further education, practice, and mentoring beyond conventional training and fellowships. Homeopathy alone takes a lifetime to master, if one ever really does. The primary thing it has taught me, though, is that the same Life Force infuses and animates everything in the universe. As humans, we are both spiritual and physical beings; homeopathy operates at the confluence of both.
My transformation work with physicians has been a calling ever since residency, when the term “burnout” was just entering use. Seeing extremely intellig
Medical careers don’t have to lead to burnout, depression, or suicide, but they too often do. We forget to include ourselves in our caring activities; it may even take a major illness to wake us up. Extremely busy as a psychiatrist treating my colleagues, I later also trained as a coach to reach them preventively. Dev
The most profound training of my life came through developing acute necrotizing pancreatitis a few years ago. Unrecognized gallstones led to 2 intensely painful hospitalizations, sepsis, near death, and eventual surgery to remove my gall bladder. Many months of recuperation followed, with chronic pain and other symptoms. I learned what it was like to be treated by doctors and nurses with energy enough to care for me, vs those whose burnout left them more like the walking dead. Physicians are trained to suppress their human needs, while churning through overwhelming workloads
While nearly dying in the hospital, I also experienced a strong and omnipresent Guide within me. Conveying wisdom and resilience, this Being accompanied and supported me through my illness and beyond. I believe that this Wisdom can show up in all kinds of ways in our lives, providing whatever we most need at the time. Many others have told me of their own, similar experiences – whether through illness or not. Because this internal sense of loving guidance has been so transformative for me, I want to help others connect with the same in themselves.
MD: Wake Forest University School of Medicine; Winston-Salem, NC
Internship: Internal Medicine and Family Medicine, Pitt Memorial Hospital/East Carolina University School of Medicine; Greenville, NC
Residency in Psychiatric Medicine: Pitt Memorial Hospital/East Carolina University School of Medicine; Greenville, NC
Coaching Training & Experience
Certified Facilitator of Dr. Brené Brown’s Daring Way™ and Rising Strong™ Programs
Trained Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher, 2019 – present
3 Principles Practitioner, 2017 – present
Trainings for Personal Growth and Development:
Work With Me
Services I Provide
Three-Principles-Based Consultations, Intensives, and Packages
My understanding of the world is deeply psychospiritual, and combines spirituality, psychology, and a great reverence for all life as I work with others. The “Three Principles” are the spiritual gifts of Mind, Consciousness, that are universal to all human beings, and underlie all spiritual traditions. They are grounded in the insights of philosopher Sydney Banks about who we truly are, and how our experience is created. My observations have shown me that these Principles are as real as the principles of gravity and electricity. Mentored the last several years by those who worked closely with Mr. Banks for decades (until his death in 2009), I have found this understanding to be healing and transformative both personally and professionally.
In working with others, I intend to serve their ability to access the clarity and resilience already present within them – even though they may not be “feeling it” at the time. Rather than techniques and prescriptions, our own insights and realizations are the most potent means for guiding our lives forward. We are both apprentices to the Presence within us, at the heart of our being. Listening deeply and responding from my own heart to theirs, these conversations are often healing for us both.
“Universal Mind” is the intelligent, loving, and creative energy behind all life — whether in form or formless. It’s a power source moving through us, always.
“Universal Consciousness” is the innate human capacity to be aware of our lives. Our level of awareness at any moment, determines the quality of our experience.
“Universal Thought” is the formless and infinite energy for creating our experience, moment to moment. The core of all psychological functioning, it links the spiritual and physical world. We experience our world from the inside out, through Thought – rather than from outside circumstances.
Working from this basic understanding can facilitate h
This work provides space and opportunity for you to have your own insights and realizations – especially about who you really are, and how your experience is created. This understanding allows your life to move forward with much more simplicity and inner peace.
Also, it facilitates your ability to recognize and listen to your own inner wisdom and intuition – leading to clearer, more practical decisions, responses
We may also use supportive resources in the form of videos and readings from Sydney Banks, the man who uncovered the Three Principles in the 1970’s through an enlightenment experience that changed his life.
Pamela A. Pappas MD, MD(H) is a Three Principles Practitioner and coach, practicing at Optimal You.
Physician Coaching for Well-Being and Leadership Development
Although physician burnout is at an all-time high (60% in some recent studies), most physicians were never trained to recognize its signs or prevent it in themselves, their professional colleagues, or their organizations. Burnout is a syndrome characterized by:
The developers of the MBI described physician burnout as:
“ . . . an erosion of the soul caused by a deterioration of one’s values, dignity, spirit and will.”
Burnout can be thought of as one end of a continuum, with Engagement on the other end:
Most physicians go into medicine to help others, and to experience a feeling of purpose; it’s a vocation and calling for them. Feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction accompany being fully engaged in one’s career. When doctors can use their skills with excellence, relate deeply with and benefit others, AND also practice consistent self-care to replenish themselves when tired, this feeling and state of engagement is possible.
A host of factors edges physicians towards burnout – including:
The presence of physician burnout has been shown to
Fortunately, doctors can be trained to learn the signs and symptoms – AND how to combat burnout when they are edging towards it. Preventive measures on individual, organizational and leadership levels are available. When physicians learn to employ their own personal anti-burnout strategies, the benefits extend beyond themselves to their patients, families, staff and wider organization, and even the payors.
Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is certified in multiple forms of coaching: Executive Coaching, Physician Burnout Prevention, Enneagram Coaching, and the Change Coach model of Dr. Amy Johnson PhD. She is also working towards certification as a Clarity Coach, with Jamie Smart.
Enneagram in Coaching and Personal Development
The Enneagram is an ancient framework for understanding personality patterns plus ongoing evolution in ourselves and others. It helps us see our needs, fears, and gifts, and shows us where we could be limiting our own development. Encompassing both spirituality and psychology, it helps us evolve towards living and working more authentically.
Having studied this system over the past 5-10 years, I’ve been surprised at how thoroughly yet compassionately the Enneagram allows people to observe themselves. Have you ever wondered what it might be like for others to be “on the receiving end of you?” Have you ever noticed that certain clashes in relationships recur over and over? Learning about ourselves and important others through the Enneagram can clarify these areas, plus help us respond with more awareness and patience. It’s far more than a “personality test”; it includes our energies, describes how we deal with various painful emotions, and offers pathways for personal healing and transformation. And more.
Each of us has all 9 of the basic personality “types” within us, but we gravitate the most to one. Still, there are differences in tone and in expressions of our instincts, which affect how we show up. Perhaps even more important is our level of consciousness (or awareness). The DSM 5 tends to pathologize our personality attributes, and does not describe levels of awareness at all. However, through the Enneagram lens, one can discover one’s own inner story and how this affects our responses. Once we see this deeply, it can’t be un-seen. These insights serve our health, because we also realize that “it doesn’t have to go this way” with us anymore. Catching ourselves earlier and earlier in our patterns, we can choose differently – and this is liberating.
Many of my coaching clients have enjoyed learning about themselves through the Enneagram, so it’s often part of the coaching packages I offer. We can use the RHETI online questionnaire as a starting point, while realizing that the person himself/herself is the best judge of accuracy of results. Deeper learning is always possible for any of us. Some of us need more time, reflection, and self-observation to clarify our understanding. I’m there to facilitate this process.
Pamela A. Pappas MD, MD(H) is certified in Enneagram Applications, and Enneagram and the Coach.
Integrative Medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies. This model has clear applications to those with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.
The Defining Principles of Integrative Medicine/Psychiatry
Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is an integrative psychiatrist practicing at Optimal You.
Homeopathy, or Homeopathic Medicine, is the practice of medicine that embraces a holistic, natural approach to the treatment of the sick. It was developed over 200 years ago by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann MD. Like many physicians even today, Dr. Hahnemann anguished over the limitations and dangers of the medicine practiced in his time. He was determined to find more effective, safer ways to cure illness.
Dr. Hahnemann noticed that certain substances were toxic in high doses, causing discrete symptoms in healthy people. But when ill people took a very dilute form of the substance corresponding to their symptoms, they got well. This illustrates the Law of Similars, a Hippocratic principle that is also fundamental in homeopathy.
Classical homeopathy embodies a philosophy of deeply understanding people and their illnesses. This allows practitioners to perceive and address the core spiritual dynamic disturbance manifesting in the patient's mental, emotional, and physical symptom pattern. It is holistic because it addresses the person as a whole, rather than focusing on a diseased part or disease.
Homeopaths also study the particular healing qualities of their medicines ("remedies"), which come mostly from natural substances. Unlike botanical and nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies are regulated by the FDA as medicines. They are produced in homeopathic pharmacies using the U.S. FDA-recognized Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.
People often confuse homeopathy with general alternative medicine, naturopathic medicine, botanical medicine, and even Bach flower essences. Though homeopathy does employ some
plant-based medicines, and some naturopathic physicians are also excellent homeopaths, homeopathy stands on its own as a system of care. Also unlike botanical medicines given in material quantities, properly prepared and prescribed homeopathic medicines do not conflict with pharmaceutical medicines.
Classical homeopaths prescribe one specially prepared ("potentized") remedy at a time, based on the patient's particular symptom pattern. Both this unique method of preparing medicines and the precise, individualized way of prescribing them are essential to classical homeopathy. The Law of Minimum Dose -- using the minimum amount of medicine required to generate a healing response -- is another important homeopathic principle. Used successfully by millions of people all over the world, classical homeopathy continues to evolve through research, practice, and the discovery of new medicines.
Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is an experienced classical homeopath practicing at Optimal You.
Daring Way™/Rising Strong™
The Daring Way™ and Rising Strong™ processes are both highly experiential methodologies based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. These processes are designed for work with individuals, couples, families, work teams, and organizational leaders. They can be facilitated in clinical, educational, and professional settings.
These programs are designed to provide time and space to dig deep into the things that get in the way of living the authentic lives we truly desire. Using metaphor, story-telling, experiential and creative exercises, we examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are holding us back — and work to identify the new choices and practices that will move us toward more authentic and wholehearted living.
Daring Way™ exercises are designed to:
Rising Strong™ workshops are designed to provide a process for dealing with the inevitable failures that come when we commit to living courageously. Our life’s stories are not defined by how we fall, but how we get back up. We learn to:
Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is a Certified Daring Way™ and Rising Strong™ facilitator.
“Mindfulness” describes a mental state of nonjudgmental attention to and awareness of the present moment -- along with calm acknowledgment of feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can also describe a type of meditation practice which cultivates this awareness, a quality all human beings possess.
According to Mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Mindfulness meditation comes from early Buddhist traditions over 2500 years old, and was developed to foster
Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness meditation requires no special religious or cultural belief system. In fact, Jon-Kabat-Zinn PhD is internationally known for bringing these practices to the West – creating a research-based program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” that has benefited people from all walks of life. This program has been a helpful ancillary form of treatment for many patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions caused or exacerbated by modifiable lifestyle factors.
As one aim of mindfulness is to take greater responsibility for one’s life choices, it may both strengthen one’s internal resources for optimizing health, and evoke greater engagement with one’s health care too.
Ample research documents effectiveness of mindfulness practices in avoiding relapse in depression, addictions, and also in many forms of anxiety. Studies of its applications in trauma survivors are underway as well. Some forms of psychotherapy which use these practices include Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. It is not a panacea, though. Psychiatrists and therapists keep aware of potential pitfalls with certain types of people, conditions, and timing. For instance, actively psychotic patients may worsen with long periods of silence in an extended mindfulness retreat. Once symptoms remit though, the person may be well able to participate and benefit from such programs.
Mindfulness can be taught as part of formal meditation practice, and also as integrated into everyday life situations. It isn’t about changing what you think or feel – but about becoming gradually more aware of these things in a moment-to-moment way. Through mindfulness practice, you can develop a wiser and more compassionate relationship with your own mind and body. This pays dividends not only in how you feel personally, but also in the quality of your relationships with others.
Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) uses mindfulness skills in her practice, and has been trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction with Drs. Jon-Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorell
Desert Flower Essences
Flower essences are infusions of flowers in water, potentized through sunlight, and stabilized in solutions of brandy and water. Suffused with the flower's vibrational imprint, they each resonate with -- and can strengthen -- different universal qualities in us. Flower essences can be used to safely support emotional healing and health.
Flower essences contain no scent (except the brandy added for stabilization), and are distinct from essential oils. They are also extremely dilute, thus differing from herbal tinctures which are created from concentrated extracts of different plant parts. A few drops at a time can be taken directly, placed in water, or even placed in a mist bottle and sprayed on the skin or around a room.
Desert Flower Essences are co-created between Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer in Tucson, AZ and flowers growing wild in the Sonoran Desert. Ms. Scherer has researched and worked with these essences since 1983, and has also trained others (including Dr. Pappas) in their use.
Desert Flower Essence Therapy is the practice of using desert flower essences in a consistent, purposeful way to enhance emotional harmony and spiritual well-being. Through their vibrational qualities, Desert Flower Essences can help us become aware of and release deeply conditioned and limiting ways of perceiving ourselves and others; destructive behavior patterns can resolve.
Flower essences work on an energetic, rather than on a direct physical or chemical, level. There are many forms of energy that are imperceptible to our senses, but which still impact us: x-rays, UV light from the sun, and microwaves are a few examples.
Flower essences cannot substitute for mechanical and surgical procedures such as setting broken bones or repairing anatomical problems -- but they can ease post-surgical healing processes on a subtle level.
Flower essences can be used with other forms of treatment, including homeopathy, to assist in opening awareness. Becoming aware of previously ignored or unknown aspects of ourselves can be uncomfortable at times, but use of Desert Flower Essences can also help if this arises.
Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) uses Desert Flower Essences in her practice at Optimal You, and has been trained by Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer (their co-creator) in doing this.
Initial Psychospiritual Consultation – 90 min, $400
Follow-up Psychospiritual Conversation – 50 min, $250
Coaching Packages are designed and priced individually, according to scope of work
Cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card are acceptable methods of payment. Coaching packages are generally invoiced online and paid through my portal — but checks are gratefully accepted also.
I am on no insurance panels. This allows for maximum privacy and individualization of your care. I choose to work for your personal well-being, rather than for insurance contracts.
Please be aware that if you do submit an insurance claim, most insurance companies store your diagnosis and treatment information indefinitely. Please call your insurance company if you’relooking for a psychiatrist who accepts your insurance plan.
Coaching services are not reimbursable through any health insurance, but may be legitimate professional development or CME expenses.
To avoid charge for a cancelled session, 24 hours’ notice is required
Weekdays, by appointment
Phone and Zoom sessions available
Sydney Banks – books and live-stream videos
Three Principles Global Community Hub
Three Principles Foundation and School
Real Change – Stories and Statistics Describing Real Change
Bill Pettit MD and Linda Pettit PhD
Dr. Amy Johnson PhD – Little School of Big Change
Integrative Psychiatry Institute – Will van der Veer, MD
Psychiatry Redefined – David Greenblatt MD
Judith Orloff MD
Holistic and Integrative Medicine
Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine
University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine
Tieraona Low Dog, MD
National Center for Homeopathy
American Institute of Homeopathy
Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States
British Homeopathic Association
Desert Flower Essences & Experiencing Desert Plants
Desert Alchemy — Tucson, AZ
Desert Botanical Gardens — Phoenix, AZ
Tohono Chul Park — Tucson, AZ
Meditation and Guided Imagery
Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society
Belleruth Naparstek’s Guided Imagery Center
Center for Mindful Self-Compassion
UC San Diego School of Medicine Center for Mindfulness
Tara Brach, PhD
Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI Version 2.5)
How the Enneagram System Works