Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Dr. Sydney Ceruto has completed her doctoral education in the field of Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience & is a leading specialist in using your brains natural ability to change, neuroplasticity, to ensure you reach your desired goals. Her specialty is in helping clients recognize their faulty thinking patterns, change undesirable behaviors, developmental & emotional resiliency, & gain mental clarity. When Dr. Ceruto was a teenager, she tragically lost both parents. As an only child, the loss of family completely broke her. She became profoundly depressed & began suffering from chronic anxiety. Sydney felt lost, & any form of happiness, confidence, or clarity, seemed a long way off. Soon after, she began to pursue her education in medicine at Yale & obtained three masters in psychology & two PhD’s in both cognitive & behavioral neuroscience at NYU. Studying the mind-brain connection was indeed the paradigm for her healing & growth. Dr. Sydney Ceruto created MindLAB Neuroscience over two decades ago. She pioneered an integrative approach based on hard science that has genuinely changed the way people make positive &, more importantly, permanent changes in all areas of their lives. Her program is highly venerated & has debunked all the myths regarding the efficacy of “traditional therapy” & the sad misnomer that you need to be on a counselor’s couch for years or even decades. Several publications have Dr. Sydney Ceruto on staff as a senior writer. She is a proud member of the Forbes Executive Council, Positive Performance Alliance, Wharton Executive Education Program, Executive Writer for Alternatives Watch and Brainz Magazine.
Can you share the most interest in what exciting happened to you since you started doing this?
Approximately 7 years ago a colleague of mine asked me if I could consult with a young woman he was seeing who had OCD. Her compulsion was pulling ever single hair from her head, down to her feet. My colleague had been treating her for 4 years both therapeutically and pharmacologically with no success. I agreed, and this beautiful soul walked into my office. At first it was jarring, as she had no eyebrows or eyelashes, and after removing her wig, completely and utterly bald. She had a few small patches of very fine hair, which she pulled out during our consultation. She said she wanted to work with me and I was reticent at first because clinically, my colleague had been treating her correctly. Honestly, I was not sure I could help her break this chronic illness. Our first session was 4 days later and all week I was going back to my medical books, doing copious amounts of research and I could find no other treatment plan that wasn’t already attempted on her. I literally had no answers when she walked in. I felt so bad for this wonderful and warm young woman. I asked her some questions about why she thinks she does this because she wanted to have a boyfriend and her compulsive hair pulling made that impossible. She told me she had a great childhood and adolescence. I had this strange feeling inside me that something was amiss. I sat down next to her on the couch, hugged her and whispered, “It’s okay Ava, I know you were sexually abused”. Of course I could have been totally wrong but I have an unbelievable way of connecting with people that sometimes even frightens me. She began to shake in my arms and then 28 years of hiding this abuse came flowing out of her in the form of uncontrollable sobbing and vomiting. I canceled all my patients that day and we spent 6 hours crying (I cried as well) and talking about the sexual abuse by her older brother. I realized that she did not have OCD, but was suffering from PTSD. We worked together for 90 days and I am so proud to say she has completely stopped her hair pulling, has gorgeous flowing brown hair and is engaged!!! I always go with my gut.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
My answer is simple. In order to thrive, you need to feel like you are really making a difference in your patients lives. In order to be effective you must speak up and often times tell the patient things they may not want to hear. Many doctors in my industry are afraid to reveal what they really think because they fear that patient may not come back. We must remember that we took an oath to do no harm, and by only telling the client or patient things you think will keep them coming back, is not congruent with our credo. As far as burn out, the key is to assess the patients you have and how severe their issues are. Once that is determined, you can make a decision on how much each patient will need from you and then decide if you can handle more. The goal here is to be effective in eliciting positive change for your existing clients before you take on more patients. This will help to keep you from working too many hours and not having enough time to decompress.
None of us can succeed without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Absolutely. That person would be my ex husband. We have been together since we were 17 years old and without his belief in me, his acceptance of almost 20 years of me going to school and his unwavering support. Although we amicably divorced a few years ago, we still remain best friends and will always be family. To this day, he is my rock.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Yes. I volunteer at many different organizations and have helped hundreds of people who were not my patients simply because I possess a great deal of empathy and it hurts my heart to see anyone suffering. I feel the same way about animals.
Do you have a favorite “written Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.” By Roy T. Bennett This has helped me tremendously in overcoming the loss of my parents when I was 16 and in healing all the wounds throughout my life. I reference this quote every time I find my mind going backwards and use it to stay and live in the present.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn
Anything specific you’d like to have mentioned in the article? Yes. The method that I pioneered is utilizing the brains natural ability to change, called neuroplasticity. Billions of pathways in your brain light up every time you think, feel, react, and behave. If you want to make permanent changes, there is really only one way to do it. You must ingrain new, much more salubrious ways of thinking, emoting, perceiving, behaving and reacting, and starve off the old, far less advantageous ways you have been implementing. That can only be done with the help of neuroscience and a trained doctor. This change happens far quicker than one would think, especially because I only see 3 to 4 patients at a time, so I am there for each person 24/7 guiding them away from the old and to