Dr. Michael DeMaria
Dr. Michael DeMaria is a four-time Grammy nominated artist/musician, a best-selling author of four books, an experienced speaker and a yoga and meditation teacher—all of which he uniquely combines in his integrative and holistic approach to psychology, health and wellness.
What led you to the integrative branch of psychology?
I was a quite ill as a child and even had a number of surgeries. Throughout my life, I felt there was a serious lack of dealing with the whole person (body, mind, heart and soul) in the health care profession. In fact, because the doctors only treated my body and not my mind or spirit, it resulted in some chronic post-traumatic stress for me which I deal with to this day. In addition, as a result of being a philosophy and psychology major at UWF, I explored root causes and not simple symptom reduction. This led to me being very successful in helping others by trying to reach the essence of their life issue. I have found that to fully understand a client’s world, it is imperative to look at the whole person, and that requires an integrative approach to health and wellness.
How do you incorporate your diverse set of talents and skills into your practice?
Next to my consulting room, I have a yoga/meditation/sound-healing room where I keep many yoga mats, bolsters and musical instruments. These tools help people to disconnect from the stories in their minds while reconnecting to their bodies and hearts. Creativity, yoga, meditation and time in nature have all shown to be inherently healing. Ultimately, each of these components contribute to one journey towards health, healing and wholeness.
How did your experience at UWF shape who you are today?
I had an amazing experience at UWF that is still very much reflected in my work today. Particularly impactful was my work with Dr. Bill Mikulas (transpersonal and Buddhist psychology), Dr. Yolanda Reed (theatre), Dr. Jack Keller (existential psychology) and Dr. Dan Hermann (existential and phenomenological philosophy). Each of these instructors taught me to discover what was true for me, and they fueled my passion to become a lifelong learner. They fully supported my desire to have a more integrative, interdisciplinary approach to health, healing and wellness.