As a healthcare provider, she knows the stress and trauma frontline medical workers experience—and how to help them recover.

Inspiration came to me as an understanding of what starts to move when we are in our hearts sincerely to care.

— Dr. Deborah Howell

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA, December 14, 2022 / — Dr. Deborah Howell is a physical therapist who is driven by the amazing outcomes she witnesses in the patients she works with. But when she ended up needing physical therapy herself, she was shocked by what she experienced in the U.S. healthcare system. “I thought, ‘Wow. I’m a therapist. And I am not getting better. I am getting worse.’ It was my profession! I did not expect what I experienced,” she recalls. “But it’s also the healthcare system, which relies on band-aids, taking a pill for this or that, and not getting to the underlying root cause of illness. We are taught how to work with the body holistically, but the healthcare system is driven by insurance, which has taken away the autonomy in how we practice.

Many practitioners would agree that when they overextend themselves and try to give more to their patients as Dr. Howell does, they can overwhelm and deplete their resources. “One of the critical things we must learn as practitioners is how to have healthy boundaries,” she explains. “And when we’re in the day-to-day grind of providing care, we must learn not to put ourselves on the back burner, which is what I did. The key is to take ownership of our well-being and self-care, to know our limits and to ask for help. When we show up in this way, it changes the conditions in the environment and our ability to respond more effectively—the actual conditions that allow for increased awareness and insight, enabling us to make better decisions and to recognize what would best serve our patients or the situation. It all works through the heart.”

Her first book, Straight to the Heart of What Matters and most recent book, Self-Care in Healthcare, are about the challenges Dr. Howell experienced as a patient and the things she learned as a therapist. “At times, my therapy sessions have been deeply transformative, feeling more like a ministry,” she says. “It’s about being in the heart, being in this caring and open-heart space that feels warm and expansive, that allows me to be fully present. My patients and I meet heart to heart, and we meet with a level of understanding that conveys, ‘I’m here to care for you.’ And that understanding comes without me saying anything. It comes with me walking in the room and someone can feel that I am there, and I am present.” It has taken Dr. Howell years to get to this place, and she advises other practitioners and entrepreneurs to understand that it’s a journey and a process. Her goal now is to support healthcare workers and share an approach that will allow them to be focused and still really enjoy their work even though the healthcare profession and system is more challenging and demanding than it has ever been.
Learn about Dr. Howell’s restorative self-care for healthcare professionals at the website, or on the Heart First Medicine Academy Facebook page. Her podcast is@DoseofDeborah: Rehab for the Heart and Instagram is @DoseofDeborah. You can also read much more of Dr. Deborah Howell’s unique story in the new book, Inspiring Women Who Boss Up, a collection of interviews with female entrepreneurs that is packed with compelling stories, practical advice, and role models for any woman looking to boss up in her career or life.

About the Women Who Boss Up Book Series

Whether you’ve been bossing up for a while or you’re looking for support on your boss-up journey, the Women Who Boss Up book series is your chance to take inspiration and advice from women just like you. These women come from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and all disciplines—STEM, healthcare, finance, coaching, nonprofits, and much more. You’ll read about women who left Corporate America to pursue their dreams of business ownership, women who faced seemingly insurmountable challenges but learned how to move forward, women who followed their intuition to create lives of fulfillment and financial success, and much more. Learn more at

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