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TPN.Health MIND/CLINIC: Dr. James Flowers

TPN.Health introduces James Flowers, PhD, LPC! Dr. Flowers will be speaking at TPN.Health’s upcoming MIND CLINIC Conference December 5th, sharing twenty-eight years of experience designing programs to evaluate the total health of a person from a biopsychosocial approach.

A world-renowned expert in the treatment of chronic pain, Dr. Flowers is the founder of J. Flowers Health Institute in Houston, Texas and owner of Kemah Palms Recovery and Cypress Lakes Lodge, addiction treatment centers in Texas.

Why a chronic pain speciality?

The youngest of four siblings, Dr. Flowers witnessed two of his middle sisters’ struggles with health, including drug addiction and a painful cancer ending in death. Witnessing these struggles, specifically his sister’s journey with cancer, cultivated Dr. Flowers’ interest in suffering and the diagnostic process. This also meant that Dr. Flowers had first-hand exposure to the dynamics of treatment providers working to address complex issues.

Essential to his interest in diagnostics was the fact that his sister’s cancer went undiagnosed for years as it did not appear on any particular test. Despite the lack of visibility, the cancer still affected her health in the meantime and perhaps could have been addressed earlier had she had access to a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. Upon living the progression of his sister’s cancer to her death and seeing the effect on his family in the process, Dr. Flowers decided to alter the trajectory of his life. When she died, he knew that he wanted to develop programs designed to help as many people as possible to truly uncover and understand their diagnoses.

“I believe when someone is suffering, we should do a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, which means developing a living MRI of a person’s life.”

Twenty-eight years ago when Dr. Flowers first began his training to develop chronic disease management and treatment programs, he noticed quickly that not everyone in healthcare was on board with this idea. In the U.S., the concept of evaluating the total person was widely accepted in the Northeast and Northwest, but in other areas of the country it was not considered a necessity. For instance, if someone had twelve back surgeries a provider might think it preposterous that the focal issue could be with anything other than the back.

Fast forward to 2019. The total-person medical evaluation is more widely accepted in the whole of the United States. What Dr. Flowers has seen over the years are unintentional treatment failures from qualified providers. Despite the best efforts of providers, oftentimes the true diagnoses of a person can go undiscovered because providers have not been systematically enabled to develop a whole picture of the client’s health, brain and body, working together. Moving beyond the surface work of assessment, in comprehensive diagnostic evaluations both provider and client have access to ongoing conversations with one another about the intricacies of each body system and how the systems themselves are in conversation.

James Flowers headshot on white backdrop

“The thing that keeps me going is that this is truly my passion in life. My work is my passion.”

In living out his passion of helping people find real solutions through his work, Dr. Flowers balances his recreational activities with an equally passionate spirit. For him, these activities manifest largely in running long distances and piloting airplanes. Whether his feet are hitting the pavement or floating in the clouds, he values that engagement with these activities does not allow for him to have self-defeating thoughts. For instance, when flying the plane, he must support himself constantly in order to uphold responsibility for the lives on board. In running long distances, total self-support is a necessity, or else he won’t finish!

Underpinning all of Dr. Flowers’ work is the fact that people are not fragmented parts working independently of one another. We are whole systems of systems, and we can honor the moving parts by addressing them in a way that contributes to the overall health of the whole person. Join us at the TPN.Health MIND CLINIC to unpack the processes of creating a true living MRI in integrated healthcare and what this means for you as a provider today.