The Thru My Eyes Foundation Creates a Video Legacy for Families [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_Michelle_Maidenberg_Thru_My_Eyes_FoundationGuest: Dr. Michelle Maidenberg
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Michelle P. Maidenberg, PhD, MPH, LCSW-R, is the president and clinical director of Westchester Group Works and cofounder and clinical director of Thru My Eyes Foundation. She also maintains a private psychotherapy practice and teaches at New York University.

Segment overview: Dr. Michelle Maidenberg, PhD, discusses her work as co-founder and clinical director of the Thru My Eyes Foundation, which helps parents with critical illness create a video legacy for their families.

Health Professional Radio – Video Legacy for Families


Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard and thank you so much for joining us here on the program today. Our guest in studio is Dr. Michelle Maidenberg, President and Clinical Director of West Chester Group Works and co-founder and Clinical Director of the Thru My Eyes Foundation. She’s also the Author of a brand new book, Free Your Child From Overeating: A Handbook for Helping Kids and Teens, 53 Mind-Body Strategies for Lifelong Health and she’s here with us in studio today to talk about her brand new book as well as her work as co-founder and Clinical Director of the Thru My Eyes Foundation. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Dr. Maidenberg.

Dr. Michelle Maidenberg: Hi.

N: Thank you. I’m glad that you were able to return with us and give us a little bit more of your time. Talk about your brand new book, Free Your Child From Overeating.

M: It offers like it says 53, it’s mindfulness-based strategies at the end of each chapters actually mindfulness-based exercise. The recordings are actually available on my website and it gives very specific strategies and tools to help with lifelong health.

N: Now you do maintain a private practice in psychotherapy. Where’s your practice located?

M: It’s in Harrison, New York.

N: Okay. And do you deal with adults, teens or anyone that may have an issue not only with healthful eating and healthy lifestyles but with any mental issue in general?

M: Yeah, I really work with a variety of different individuals. I work with kids as young as first grade and above. I work with pre-teens, teens and also with adults, families, couples, it’s really more about the specific type of treatments that I use so I work with people with socialization kind of challenges, it’s personal relationship issues, anxiety, depression, it really kind of runs the gamut. So I do cognitive behavioral therapy, also acceptance and commitment therapy which is a third wave of more mindfulness-based CBT, I also do something called EMDR which is eye movement desensitization reprocessing and my practice in general is very mindfulness based, so I teach people mindfulness strategies, we go over the different types of meditations depending again on the needs of the specific clients that I work with.

N: How often do you find yourself teaching someone basically to work with someone else? Say a parent who’s dealing with a child rather than the child coming in or is that ever an option?

M: Yeah, I mean often people have challenges in their relationships, that’s something that happens quite often. So parents will come in and they’ll want some feedback about parenting issues or even a grandparent came in and wanted some feedback about kind of working with her daughter based on some of the things she was seeing with her granddaughter that she was unhappy about. So it really yeah people come in for a variety of different reasons, sometimes it’s very personal and then sometimes it’s dealing with other things outside of themselves.

N: Talk briefly about the reception that you’ve received from other health care professionals who have gotten a hold of your book and maybe changed some of their attitudes when it comes to dealing with children who have overeating problems especially.

M: Yeah, it’s really been embraced. I have different practitioners, I have physicians, I have nutritionists, psychotherapists, child advocates, there’s many different types of professionals who are reading this book coz it really does deal with the psychological barriers, there’s so much information about again a more of a medical model dealing with the physiology of weight challenges but this really deals with the psychological barriers and we really need to be cognizant and work through both of those things in order for this to be effective. Because most people want and we know this also from studies, most people who lose weight over time tend to get gain it back and sometimes people gain back even more weight than they’ve lost. So we have the resources do we have now of understanding of how to lose weight, but we really don’t have information on how to sustain it over time and what I find as the missing key is that we kind of trip ourselves up and it really has everything to do with psychological barriers.

N: Now these 53 strategies that you mentioned in your book, do they cover the entire gamut of what one might encounter? I mean some unexpected things that you might encounter when talking to your child about being healthier or maybe about their weight in general?

M: Yes, it does. I mean I was very cognizant when I sat and I wrote this and actually did a lot of focused group and spoke to a lot of professionals and parents and kids, there focused groups with kids as well and really wanted to find out what are the issues that they’re grappling with so that I’m able to cover all aspects of this issue. So I talked about, I have a whole chapter on communication, I have a whole chapter for example on mindfulness, I have a whole chapter on value-based work, I have a whole chapter on something that I call the 4 Ps which is Predict, Plan, Put into action and Practice which is really a template for how to problem solve through this, it talks about school, it talks about bullying, it talks about every aspect that you could think about relative to this challenge.

N: And where can our listeners get a copy of your brand new book, Free Your Child From Overeating?

M: So they’re able to get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, it’s also available on Kindle as well, any online bookstores they are available and also if you’re going to the actual bookstore it’s sold there as well.

N: Now in addition to being an author and running a private practice, your interests also deal with people that have critical illnesses. You’re a co-founder and Clinical Director of the Thru My Eyes Foundation. When did this start?

M: So Thru My Eyes has been around, I’m trying to think the exact year we started, going back a few years, probably 5 or 6 years ago something like that. And it offers … guided video tapping for chronically, medically ill individuals who want to leave a video legacy for their children and love ones and we have a mental health professional who interviews the person and we do a customized basically questionnaire for that person based on the topics that they want to cover. So I had for example somebody who I interviewed, a male who had two very, very young children and he never had a relationship with his mother because his mother left the family when they were very, very young and she was an alcoholic and at the onset of the interview he said to me “I do not want to talk about her so please don’t mention my mother.” And I of course was respectful of that. And some people don’t want to talk about their illness for that matter, they’re really wanna talk about their life, they wanna talk about their interests, they wanna talk about things they want to convey specifically to their children. So it’s really meeting the needs of the individual person who’s interested in this service but it does offer a legacy, a video legacy for their families.

N: And are these services only available if you’ve got a critical illness of is this something that you can decide to do through your foundation just as a part of your will?

M: Yes, you can unfortunately because of funding we do get private funds and also through grants, that only covers people who are eligible. So if you’re a person out of that eligibility then you wouldd have to pay for that service. But it is available but if you’re doing it and you’re eligible it’s free.

N: Can we go online and get more information for the Thru My Eyes Foundation?

M: Absolutely, it’s, so thru my eyes is spelled thrumyeyes and it’s .org and it lists again criteria at least, there’s some videos also samples of individuals who participated in and creating some videos. It’s again it’s a free service the other thing we’ve added in which is really a nice piece of it is we give clients a flip camera so they get to video tape footage of them and their children for example, their family’s interacting at meals so it’s added that into the video as well.

N: I should thank you for talking with us today.

M: Sure.

N: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. And we’ve been in studio with Dr. Michelle Maidenberg, Clinical Director and co-founder of the Thru My Eyes Foundation and she’s been with us talking about her foundation, the services that are offered and giving us some insight as to where we can get more information online and find out whether or not we qualify for the services. It’s been great having you here with us today, thank you so much.

M: Thank you, I appreciate it.

N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!