When patients visit the doctor’s office, they think of the physician as simply “the doctor,” and they think of themselves as “the patient.” But what if you know that your doctor is also a patient, who understands many of the physical and psychological challenges of chronic illness, and whose mission is to help you through them? And what if your doctor is also a poet, able to put thoughts and emotions into words that provide gifted, spiritual insight into the life you are living?
Meet Abby Caplin, MD.
Abby Caplin, MD is a physician and poet practicing mind-body medicine and counseling in San Francisco, California. Her poetry weaves the experiences of illness with extraordinary insights of the soul.
When helping patients with chronic illness, Dr. Caplin relies on her training in counseling psychology, years as a physician, innate wisdom, and specific mind-body techniques such as Voice Dialogue, visualization, relaxation, and reflective journaling. She helps clients understand the connections between thoughts and emotions, and the body’s biochemical responses which can either exacerbate or relieve symptoms.
“My passion is helping people with illness heal and lead more empowered lives,” she says. “This is hard to do on your own. I know the journey through illness well, having developed Crohn’s disease after my medical training. During that time, I found myself suddenly challenged by compromised energy and stamina, and by the uncertainty of meeting personal and professional expectations. I was lucky to find the support, guidance, and tools that helped make a difference for me.”
Because of her life experience, she chose to combine her knowledge and background as a medical doctor (Pediatrics and Allergy-Immunology) with a master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology. For twenty years, she has had the privilege of guiding many people who have struggled with illness, helping them move forward to live better lives.
Dr. Caplin just published her book of poetry titled “A Doctor Only Pretends – Poems about illness, death and in-between” (Ocean Light Press May 19, 2022). This is a book of keen wit and tenderness, humor and heartache. Both a physician and a patient, Dr. Caplin mines from her medical training–as well as her own experiences with health challenges–odd quirks and cautionary tales that resonate with readers. Her intelligence and skill bring grace to poems that ask us to laugh about and sometimes grieve the human condition.
She has been a finalist for the Rash Award in poetry, the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award, a semi-finalist for the Willow Run Poetry Book Award, and an award recipient of the San Francisco Poets Eleven, and a nominee for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize.
Dr. Caplin’s counseling website can be found at https://abbycaplinmd.com.
The book, “A Doctor Only Pretends” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3Nfq5HL.
An hour-long interview with Dr. Caplin by GoToHealth Media can be found at https://gotohealthmedia.com/the-blessings-and-poetry-of-chronic-illness-abby-caplin-md/.
Abby Caplin, MD MA
38 Taraval Street
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Times of Chennai journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.