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Queens Village nurse helps 9/11 victims keep recovering

Often these wounds will not heal on their own and can grow worse if left untreated, much like a physical wound.This is where the people of the Olive Leaf Wholeness Center step in and help people in the recovery process, including one of Queens Village's own, Yvonne Secreto. Olive Leaf, located in Manhattan on East 23rd Street, is an integrated wellness center that offers full service spa treatments along with a variety holistic medicines used in tandem with traditional medical practices. Secreto, a registered nurse who studied at City College and Catholic Medical Center, has lived in Queens Village for nearly 25 years and is using her knowledge in nursing and holistic medicines to help those still in need. The Olive Leave Wholeness Center has recently received a grant from the American Red Cross to continue to help 300 New Yorkers recover form the Sept. 11 tragedy.Secreto said she focuses on the holistic side of healing and uses it in conjunction with traditional methods of medicine such as pharmaceuticals."They really complement each other," said Secreto. Secreto has been working with people who survived the Sept. 11 attacks and said she often brings the patient back to the event emotionally in order to change his or her reaction. She said she does this through different methods including hypnotherapy, breathing exercises, and herbal treatments. "We see were they are stuck," said Secreto . "Sometimes we'll reverse the situation so they'll see the positive."Secreto said she asks her patients questions to trigger memories about information from the event that she can use to help them begin the recovery process. "The event usually brings up something that was already there, issues of abandonment, betrayal, and safety," said Secreto. "We're not always dealing with 9/11." One man who Secreto has been working and escaped the World Trade Center attack brought up a fire that he survived when he was 5 years old. She said she brought him back to the childhood fire in order for him to handle that event first, then move on to his reaction to the terrorist attack. Secreto said this form of therapy is much like when people talk to themselves in their head, but she just adds to it by adding reassuring thoughts of her own."It takes it further than the self talk we do with ourselves," said Secreto.Secreto said after initial treatments through her form of therapy, she teaches her patients to continue it on their own to further their success."I teach them to self-regulate when they break down," said Secreto. "Everyone I have worked with has experienced relief."Reach reporter Peter A. Sutters Jr. by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 173.

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