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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Collaboration with Conscious Intent: At Turning Point Healing Arts & Education Center

Sep 02, 2017 08:33PM ● By Nicole Miale

Nowhere is the concept of the sum of the parts being greater than the individual pieces more borne out than in a truly integrative healing center like Ridgefield’s Turning Point Healing Arts & Education Center. As visioned and manifested by founder JoAnn Inserra Duncan of Turning Point Reiki, the healing space’s six practitioners have been serving Ridgefield and the region since opening in January 2015.

“For years I wanted to create a center where someone could come, have many different services, be supported and meet a variety of healing needs,” Inserra Duncan, a Reiki Master Teacher, explains. “To do that, I wanted to work with people who had a high degree of skill in their field and commanded respect in the community. The group that wound up being here is exactly right.”

The practitioner group currently includes Mary Beth Johnston, a massage therapist; Deana Paqua, a shamanic practitioner and teacher; Valerie Rich, a yoga, meditation and Alexander Technique teacher; Stacy Raymond, a clinical psychologist with a specialty in trauma resolution and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); and Brenda Story, who practices multiple energy treatment modalities, such as Reconnective Healing and IET (as do Inserra Duncan and Paqua). Each of them is also a Reiki Master. Their individual areas of expertise vary widely from that common point of experience and training, yet the commonality of their training creates synergy, Story says, and also creates unique opportunities for intra-group referrals.

“Every time we gather, I learn from the others,” Story explains. “As a life-long learner, I so appreciate the opportunity to work with this group and keep growing myself while helping others. I can help more people because I’m constantly exposed to all the other information.”

Inserra Duncan says she’s thrilled with how it has been working and the response clients have had to the unique center. It starts with the practitioners who work there, but the space itself sets the tone for client experience. “The energy in the space is very peaceful,” she says. “People who come say it feels like a home rather than an office. We worked to create a space that’s very inviting and homey, which makes people feel relaxed before starting their session or class.”

There is no competition between the practitioners, just collaboration and dedication to serving the needs of the people who come through the door. “It is tough sometimes being a solo practitioner and being out there on your own,” Paqua says. “Becoming a part of the Turning Point Center has been a wonderful experience. I love having the chance to work with a group of people with so much integrity. They are each authentic and committed to their healing work.”

The practitioners share and refer clients to each other and meet frequently to discuss the needs of the center, clients and themselves. “We work well together because we have a good sense of where each of our work begins and ends,” Raymond says. Rich agrees, and says the feeling of support and connection between the group members is quite different than her past experiences working in various gyms and studios. “We all do different things but support each other with the same vision and mission,” she explains. “It’s a place where we are all dedicated to helping humanity.”

That healing vision begins with Inserra Duncan, who spends much of her time teaching Reiki, but also has developed a specialty for treating clients with tick-borne illnesses and chronic conditions such as cancer.

“Fear and uncertainty can be so depleting,” she says. “Reiki helps reduce or eliminate anxiety, pain, fatigue and improves overall healing, so it’s particularly helpful for people dealing with cancer or other major chronic illness, whether they’re also using conventional medicine or not. Reiki can’t do any harm; it can only help.”

“We know now from the studies that have been done that trauma and energy imbalance can lead to disease in the body,” she continues. “An integrated approach is very important, especially when dealing with a major trauma or illness. For example, let the medicine do its job to kill the cancer cells that are already there while using Reiki and other healing modalities to help prevent recurrence and aid in healing.”

This approach is one of the things Raymond particularly likes about the group. “Centers like ours are really important because they fulfill an integrative medicine niche in our own little way,” she says.

Community outreach and education are important parts of their mission. Paqua is an adjunct faculty member at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) and she and Inserra Duncan are also advisory board members of the Institute of Holistic Health Studies (IHHS) at WCSU. Each member of The Center’s team participates in or leads educational events and workshops, whether at The Center itself or at local community venues, i.e. a wellness lecture series scheduled by Ridgefield Library. The Center’s physical space—three treatment rooms, a waiting room, a small classroom and a kitchen—is a frequent site for workshops and classes, including the Divorce S.H.A.R.E. Group Inserra Duncan holds on a monthly basis for community members going through the divorce process. Those groups benefit from the collaborative nature of the practitioner group Inserra Duncan has attracted; some of the practitioners have been presenters for the divorce group, supporting their healing through a difficult life transition. It is just another way that clients who come to The Center have a variety of needs met, another manifestation of Inserra Duncan’s original vision.

“If you put out the clear intent to serve the highest healing good, people get what they need,” Johnston says. Inserra Duncan agrees, “The people who are supposed to find you, find you. I think there’s a lot to be said for the energetic connection where clients are guided to a particular practitioner.”

They could do a lot worse than to find themselves in the capable hands of any practitioner at the Turning Point Healing Arts & Education Center.

For more information, contact:

JoAnn Inserra Duncan, MS, RMT, call 203-438-3050 or email [email protected]. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 76.

Mary Beth Johnston, LMT, RMT, call 914-419-7961 or email [email protected].

Deana Paqua, MS, LMT, RMT, call 203-994-5045 or email [email protected] or visit See ad, page 21.

Stacy Raymond, PsyD, call 203-493-0344, email [email protected] or visit

Valerie Rich, (AmSAT) RM RYT 500, call 203-482-2278, email [email protected] or visit

Brenda Story, RMT, call 203-948-0841 or email [email protected].

Turning Point Healing Arts & Education Center is located at 100B Danbury Rd, Ste 101, Ridgefield.

Nicole Miale is publisher of Natural Awakenings Fairfield County/ Housatonic Valley and Greater Hartford County. Connect at [email protected].

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