A Science-Based Approach to Healing and Health

Dr. Bernadette’s Prescription: Healthier Living Is Medicine


As a practicing physician, Dr. Bernadette, has experienced first hand the affects of preventable disease on her patients. She longed for a solution that would move her practice from sick care to one based on wellness and prevention. After years of mentoring her patients and studying public policy on prevention, she developed her Life in Harmony techniques.

Drawing from National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention Strategic Plan, the Surgeon General’s: National Prevention Strategy, Initiatives and Strategies from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and many others (listed below), the Life in Harmony program, and all of her works, are evidence-based techniques which support behavioral change and disease prevention.

Dr. Bernadette found that the traditional approach to counseling her patients created a ‘resistance to change’ with some people feeling that they were being ‘told what to do.’ She discovered the key to creating a ‘desire to change’ when she applied a theory of self-determination which combined mindset and motivation with skill development, habit and routine. Life in Harmony was born!


Dr. Bernadette applied the technique across six functional areas which she refers to as the 6 ‘E’s. Each of these areas is designed to work in tandem with each other for focus, balance and sustainability in daily life:

  1. Exhale – Promotes a more mindful life experience which is less driven by situation, circumstance and emotion and is more about being present. She uses breathing techniques to reconnect to the body and to live in the moment.
  2. Eat – Food fuels the body. What you eat is one of the variables that determines the body’s output. Dr. Bernadette teaches nutrition and food choices as important ingredients in promoting health and preventing illness.
  3. Exercise – Our bodies are designed to move! Exercise revs energy, increases stamina, and improves mood. Supporting regular physical activity is a way to help in the management and prevention of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It can also burn calories to prevent obesity.
  4. Examine – Prevention is the key to optimal health. Eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, taking moments to breathe, including time to enjoy, and adopting simple ways to enhance your uniqueness, are all strategies for best health. Dr. Bernadette also supports regular visits with your physician to establish a plan to maintain your health and monitor disease.
  5. Enhance – When you look good, you actually feel better. Dr. Bernadette supports adopting healthy and inexpensive ways to pamper your self. Research proves that it will improve both your physical and mental health and keep you feeling great!
  6. Enjoy – Enjoy life! The only moment that you are guaranteed is the one that you are presently living. Happiness is not a trivial distraction, research proves that it may extend our life and improve our health. Dr. Bernadette promotes enjoying life as a strategy to add spark to life and propel you through rough moments.

Research widely states that preventing disease before it starts is critical to helping people live longer, healthier lives. We also know that many of the strongest predictors of health and well-being, fall outside of the health care setting and this is why Dr. Bernadette has woven prevention into the fabric of everyday life with her 6 ‘E’s techniques.

Clarity is power for change. Dr. Bernadette often uses a question and answer format because it is the most effective technique to find answers, it’s more like a conversation and it forces someone to think. This process brings structure to thinking, planning, deciding and doing. Instead of just going around in circles, it provides a framework to clarify an objective, explore new options, make firm decision and become accountable to act on personal choices. It creates an answer that a person can believe in and get behind.


Teaching Toolkit for each course:

  1. Philosophical approach integrates mindfulness with integrated approach to medicine
  2. Applied theory of Self-Determination:
    1. Self-Assessments for strengths and weaknesses in work-life-family balance
    2. Self-Examination of daily routines – tweaking old habits and creating new ones
      • Define problems
      • Create goal statements
      • Time for exploration
      • Develop options and address obstacles
      • Take action


  1. Mindset Model – Creating lasting change requires a shift in mindset. Dr. Bernadette found that there was a big gap between ‘knowing and doing’ and bridging this gap requires an internal shift.


Dr. Bernadette is redefining what it means to be healthy along with a handpicked group of world-class experts in medicine, nutrition, weight loss, fitness, sleep, and stress. She provides a blueprint for behavior change with actionable programs and her 360° approach to health, healing and happiness.


Web References:

1.     National Prevention Council Action Plan http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/initiatives/prevention/about/actionplan

2.     National Prevention Strategy http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/initiatives/prevention/strategy/

3.     Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) Co-Funded Projects, NIH http://prevention.nih.gov/cofund projects.aspx

4.     Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)


5.     Pathways to Prevention (P2P), Office of Disease Prevention (ODP), NIH http://prevention.nih.gov/p2p/

6.     Prevention Research Coordinating Committee (PRCC), Office of Disease Prevention (ODP), NIH


7.     World Health Organization (WHO) (2008). Behaviour change strategies and health: the role of health systems. EUR/RC58/10. Tbilisi, Georgia: WHO.

8.     National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2007). NICE Public Health Guidance 6 ‘Behaviour change at population, community and individual levels’. London: NICE.

9.     Britt E, Hudson SM, Blampied NM, et al. (2004). Motivational interviewing in health settings: a review. Patient Education and Counseling 53:147–155.

10.  Michie S, Johnston M, Francis JJ, et al. (2008). From theory to intervention: mapping theoretically derived behavioural 
determinants to behaviour change techniques. Applied Psychology: an international review 57(4):660–680.

11.  Michie S & Johnston M (2012). Theories and techniques of behaviour change: Developing a cumulative science of behaviour change. Health Psychology Review 6(1):1­6.

12.  Dombrowski, Stephan U, Sniehotta, et al. (2007). Current issues and future directions in Psychology and Health: Towards a cumulative science of behaviour change: Do current conduct and reporting of behavioural interventions fall short of best practice? Psychology & Health 22(8):869­874.

13.  McEachan RRC, Conner M, Taylor NJ, et al. (2011). Prospective prediction of health­related behaviours with the theory of planned behaviour: A meta­analysis. Health Psychology Review 5(2):97­144.

14.  Michie S, van Stralen NM & West R (2011). The behaviour change wheel: A new method for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions. Implementation Science 6:42.

15.  Abraham C & Michie S (2008). A taxonomy of behavior change techniques used in interventions. Health Psychology 27 (3):379–387.

16.  Greaves CJ, Sheppard KE, Abraham C, et al. (2011). Systematic review of reviews of intervention components associated with increased effectiveness in dietary and physical activity interventions. BMC Public Health 11:119.

17.  World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) (2009). Effective health behaviour change strategies. Informed 35.

18.  Michie S, Abraham C, Whittington C, et al. (2009). Effective techniques in healthy eating and physical activity interventions: a meta­regression. Health Psychology 28(6):690­701.

19.  Teixeira PJ, Silva MN, Mata J, et al. (2012). Motivation, self­determination, and long­term weight control IJBNPA 9:22

20.  Teixeira PJ, Patrick H, Mata J, et al. (2011). Why we eat what we eat: the role of autonomous motivation in eating behaviour regulation. Nutrition Bulletin 36(1):102­107.

21.  Silva MN, Markland D, Minderico CS, et al. (2008) A randomized controlled trial to evaluate self­determination theory for exercise adherence and weight control: rationale and intervention description. BMC Public Health 8:234.

22.  Rubak S, Sandbæk A, Lauritzen T, et al. (2005). Motivational interviewing: a systematic review and meta­analysis. British Journal of General Practice 55(513):305­312.

23.  Spahn JM, Reeves RS, Keim KS, et al. (2010). State of the evidence regarding behavior change theories and strategies in nutrition counseling to facilitate health and food behavior change. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110 (6):879­891.

24.  Teixeira PJ, Palmeira AL & Vansteenkiste M, et al. (2012). The role of self­determination theory and motivational interviewing in behavioral nutrition, physical activity, and health: an introduction to the IJBANPA special series. IJNBPA 9:17.

25.  Thaler RH & Sunstein CR (2008). Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. New Haven, CT & 
London: Yale University Press.26.  EU project EATWELL (Interventions to Promote Healthy Eating Habits: Evaluation and Recommendations) (2012). Effectiveness of Policy Interventions to Promote Healthy Eating and Recommendations for Future Action: Evidence from the EATWELL Project.

27.  Blumenthal­Barby JS & Burroughs H (2012). Seeking better health care outcomes: the ethics of using the “nudge”. American Journal of Bioethics 12(2):1­10.

28.  Warburton DE, et al. (2007). The health benefits of interactive video game exercise. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 32(4):655­663.

29.  World Health Organization (WHO) (2008). Resolution. Behaviour change strategies and health: the role of health systems. EUR/RC58/R8. Regional Committee for Europe Fifty­eighth session. Tbilisi, Georgia: WHO.

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