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Alternative Art

Bernadene Zennie lives in a healthy world. Or two worlds, actually. By day, she’s a psychiatric nurse at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. By day off, she operates a trio of intriguing private counseling practices—parent rescue, mind-body counseling and energy healing.

While her first job is more traditional and earns her praise for helping children, it’s her second job that draws the most attention. To some, her alternative practices are the perfect new-age antidote for what ails them. For others, it’s a strange world that draws stares and skepticism. Zennie simply laughs at their leeriness.

“One of the most dramatic healings I ever had was from a skeptic,” she says. “She sprained her ankle. I asked her if she would like to try a healing. Two days later her ankle was healed. She said, ‘This is wild. I was a complete skeptic.’ ”

Zennie approaches her practices from both the practical and academic standpoints, earning a solid background for both thanks to a 1995 nursing degree and a 2002 master’s degree in community counseling.

Her graduate degree is particularly helpful in her latest project, helping parents with child-rearing issues. “I can go into your home, observe and suggest how to better manage your children’s behavior,” she says. “For example, toddler temper tantrums are almost always managed by ignoring them. If a child learns that when parents say ‘no,’ they really mean ‘maybe,’ then the parents are in for a horrible time.”

Her mind-body counseling practice involves how thoughts, feelings and behavior affect physical health. “Stress, for instance, is how we react to the world around us. How we react can affect our health for good or ill. A mind-body counselor helps a person figure out if anything happening in their lives has exacerbated their physical problems or is the seminal event that began their problems.”

There are numerous facets of energy healing, she says. “I don’t know how it works,” she says. “All I know is that I do these things and a large amount of the time, healing happens.” It’s not important whether people believe in energy healing or not, she says. “Keeping an open mind, that’s the key,” she says. “I decided to suspend my disbelief when I went into energy healing. When people are truly open, that’s when healing can happen.”

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