Bettering Lives through Wellness, Balance, & Success

Q&A with Local Mental Wellness Expert

Lawyer turned life coach, energy worker, author, and owner of Wellness, Balance, & Success, São Paulo, Brazil-born Camilla Dorand empowers clients to feel confident and empowered to change their lives for the better. Previously, Camilla was an image consultant and co-host on a makeover show before going through thyroid cancer and reevaluating her priorities. She then set her intentions on helping others excel to the next level. She earned her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and a certification in hypnotherapy, and is now working toward a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. With an emphasis on a holistic and integrative approach, the "Back to Me; Changing How I Feel About My Mother, My Body, and Men" author encourages others to explore their strengths and come into their power.

How do you describe what you do?

The type of work I do is holistic and integrative. Most of us have suffered some type of trauma growing up that has shaped the way we look at ourselves, relationships, and the world. A lot of the time, these beliefs get in the way of us becoming who we are meant to be. My work is to help clients heal from their past experiences and identify their power within. I help clients learn how to be comfortable with their discomfort so that they can build resiliency and learn how to tackle life’s challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth and a more fulfilling/satisfactory life. My work involves therapeutic interventions, hypnotherapy, coaching skills, and when clients are opened to it, Reiki.

What is mental health, and why has it become a buzz phrase?

Mental health is still a stigma for many people; many feel ashamed for feeling the way they do, which is why they don’t look for help. With the lockdown due to the pandemic, people were forced to stay home, and suddenly there were no more distractions (entertainment, trips, gyms, traffic, etc.). We were forced to stay with ourselves and our thoughts. Many people have unresolved traumas, and the lack of distractions resulted in them having to face such traumas; that is a big part of why there was a 30 percent increase in anxiety, depression, domestic violence, addictions, alcoholism, etc. People have realized that they need to take care of their mental wellness to have more peace in their lives. Having someone to talk to and guide them through the healing process is key, and that’s where I come in.

Why is acceptance such an important part of mental health?

This is a complex question.

Acceptance doesn’t mean simply giving up on change. Acceptance means finding peace within because we understand that we are only in control of our behavior, and therefore we can only make changes in ourselves.

Acceptance means allowing ourselves to feel every emotion that comes up because they are there to teach us something and because they are part of being human. Instead of running away from the discomfort, we must approach it with care and compassion to see what is causing that uneasy feeling.

Anxiety can be our friend; it can teach us so much about ourselves and our situation. Once we understand, we can take action to make changes and find ease. Another important part of acceptance is understanding that people have different ways of doing things based on their traumas, experiences, etc. Just because they do things differently doesn’t mean that they’re right or wrong. What’s right for you might be wrong for me, and vice versa. Acceptance is living our lives in a way that makes sense to us because we are all unique. Even siblings who grew up in the same household might do things differently about the same situation. Acceptance also means connecting to the present moment. For example, people thought that 2021 was going to be a year that we all went back to our lives like they were before COVID. That didn’t happen, and it stirred a lot of anxiety, anger, depression, and frustration in people who were counting (expecting) 2021 to be different. Learning to take one day at a time and being fully present allows us to make the most of the situation we are in peacefully. That is acceptance.

How does your holistic approach help a person’s overall wellness?

This answer is twofold: my lens allows me to look at clients as being mind, body, and soul, and help them connect these three elements. I also understand that overall wellness comes from cultivating wellness socially, physically, emotionally, environmentally, financially, spiritually, and intellectually. I encourage my clients to invest in these areas and make changes to live a life that makes more sense to them and feels more fulfilling.

What are your 5 tips for creating a calmer mindset?

1. Develop a morning routine where you can be with yourself with no distractions. During this time, you can journal and set your intentions for the day, meditate, and maybe exercise.

2. Start practicing gratitude; I suggest finding 3 things, people, or situations that you are grateful for every single day.

3. Be more present with yourself.

4. Develop a self-care plan.

5. Learn to accept things as they are.

Tell us why you wrote Back to Me: Changing How I Feel About My Body, My Mother, and Men and what readers can expect to get out of it?

I wrote this book because I have overcome many personal challenges that allowed me to transform myself and become the person I am meant to be. My relationship with my mother affected me deeply, and I grew up feeling very angry, depressed, and anxious. I hated my life and who I was. I used food as a coping mechanism and to keep people away from me. I felt disconnected from myself. I felt lost, lonely and made several decisions that didn’t resonate with me. For a long time, I felt basically unhappy. This book is about my transformation. It’s about the journey that led me to heal from my past and look at myself and my life differently. The book is about having the courage to live life authentically and wholeheartedly; it’s about forgiveness and embracing change. I wrote this book to inspire and empower women to take charge of their lives and make the changes they long for. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If we all have the courage to look within and work on ourselves, we can heal and live a more peaceful life. Instead of wanting people and things to be different, start the journey within, throw away what no longer serves you and make space for what does. You can become the person you were meant to be.

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