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Turning To Integrative Medicine with Cara Hoepner | Ep 18

Have you heard about integrative medicine? What role does biology have in mental health? Can medicine provide a framework for you to get your life in order, instead of only treating uncomfortable symptoms? In this podcast episode, I speak with Cara Hoepner about integrative medicine.


Cara Hoepner completed nurse practitioner training at the University of California, San Francisco, and is in private practice in San Francisco. She provides traditional and integrative medicine, as well as solution-focused wellness coaching, to individuals living with the challenges of mood, anxiety, trauma, ADHD – and sleep.

Cara specializes in complex cases and solutions without side effects. In her roles as author, speaker, advisor, and community mental health advocate, Cara focuses on educating and motivating clinicians, industry, and the public to employ medications and supplementation, psychotherapy, and a whole-person, lifestyle approach to mental health.

Visit her website.



  • What does it mean to provide traditional and integrative medicine?
  • When is it a good time to try out integrative medicine?
  • A case study 


Cara is interested in working with plants and other substances that come from the natural world that have evidence-based data in assisting and aiding people to treat symptoms and illnesses.


When you can no longer deal with things on your own, it is time to consider looking for professional solutions. There is a possibility that a mental health issue can be biological, and that means that:

“… from an evolutionary perspective when you lose your tribe, when you go through a divorce or a break-up of a business, from an evolutionary perspective, we die. Your brain doesn’t know that you might be able to make it through this or you might be safe, its when people you have social anxiety, they crumble over it.” (Cara Hoepner)

It is a deep threat and biologically your body undergoes inflammation. Your body withdraws when it is overwhelmed. When people are isolated or undergo a big change in job, or a divorce, or moving to a new house, the first thing they need to do is reestablish a community.

Cara prescribes integrative medicine when she thinks it will do as much good as possible for her patient. When she interviews them, she looks at:

  • Diet, exercise, relationships.
  • Their childhood growing up because the immune system is related to the experiences they had.
  • Not just the medicals but also a holistic overview of the person.

Cara looks at and diagnoses each person with fresh eyes. If there are side effects, they change the medicine to find the right fit so that people do not have to suffer to receive their care.


Cara had a patient who was sure his wife was going to ask for a divorce. He suffered from insomnia, weight gain, and stress. He came into Cara’s practice and they had a meeting to establish what he had gone through and they found out he had bipolar disorder.

He was given a mood stabilizer on a low dosage and his emotions leveled out. He slept better, could handle his work better, and started working with a therapist. He also strengthened his relationship with his children, started medication, and maintained a regular rhythm.

The medicine gave him a foundation to sort out his life, it stabilized some things for him so that he could get everything in order.


About your host:

Susan Orenstein, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Orenstein is a licensed psychologist and relationship expert  with over twenty years of experience. In 2005, she founded Orenstein Solutions, a private counseling practice in North Carolina that serves children, teens, adults and couples. 

She created the After the First Marriage Podcast to support individuals through the significant life transition of divorce. She whole-heartedly believes that “happily ever after” is an option for everyone, and is dedicated to helping divorcées regain the confidence to pursue a fulfilling future after the first marriage. 

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