Meet the Integrative Life Solutions Practitioners                                       

Dr. James T. Skeen, MD Integrative and Regenerative Medicine

I was born in 1951, the son of Dorothy and Hallam Skeen.  Dorothy was born in 1908 to Mennonite parents.  At age 4, her parents moved to the Michigan frontier.  The first year, they built a lean-to to house for the animals and cleared and planted 40 acres.  The first winter, they all slept in the lean-to, using the animals for warmth.  The second year, they cleared the back 40, built a barn and harvested the front 40.  The second winter, they slept in the barn, once again using the animals for warmth.  The third year, they built a house.

For the next decade of her life, my mother worked the fields, milked the cows, canned vegetables, churned butter, and walked to a one-room school that housed ages 6-13.  She learned, in a very deep and personal way, how life depended on an efficient interaction between man and the environment.  Nothing was wasted on the farm.  There were no grocery stores, no utility companies, no shopping centers, no plastic bags, no entertainment centers.  Her fulfillment came from watching a green shoot rise from the seed she had planted, watching it grow and eventually feed the farm animals, or the farm people, and from worshiping her God. 

Dorothy would look at the world today and shake her head at the separation of people from the means of their sustenance.  She would be dismayed at the way mankind has ignored their obligation to the earth and the environment.  She would be appalled by the lack of nurturance for the holy spirit that lives in all of us.  She would be right.

My father went to medical school at Ohio State University in 1916 and enlisted in the Army to fight the in the “war to end all wars.”  He, at the mature age of 22, set up a field hospital in France where he patched up Allied troops that were destroyed by the machines of war, I can only begin to imagine the horrors he witnessed.  He came back from the war a seasoned physician and opened a practice in rural Ohio.  There he delivered babies, treated infections, fixed broken bones, did emergency surgery and even gave what anesthesia there was available at the time.  He was often paid with vegetables, chickens, eggs or labor.  There was no Blue Cross or Medicare.

He would be appalled that modern society sprays poisons on their food that had their origins in chemical warfare.  He would be amazed at the way the finance has infiltrated modern medicine and the fact that physicians and the “Medical-Industrial complex” have strayed from the pursuit of health to enjoin the pursuit of financial gain.  He, too, would be right.

My approach to life and health was formed from my parents and their hard lessons from a distant time.  From my mother I gained a love of nature and appreciation of the critical interactions between all things.  From my father, I gained a stubborn independence, self-reliance and an appreciation of the responsibility of the physician.  From both, I was given an understanding of the importance of wholism in life and in the maintenance of spiritual and physical health.

After a South Carolina childhood, I attended the University of South Carolina and majored in Psychology.  My next stop was the University of Texas at Austin where I earned a Master of Science in Behavioral Genetics.  There I learned about the importance of genetics in shaping social behavior and evolutionary success.  I then went to the Medical University of South Carolina where I focused on the Neurosciences, studying under one of the pioneers of Neurosurgery, Dr. Ludwig Kempe.  After graduation, I spent a year at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein Medical Campus in New York for a surgical internship.  I had planned to pursue a Neurosurgical Residency at Emory University after entertaining offers from the University of Pennsylvania and another pioneer, Dr. Peter Janetta at the University of Pittsburgh. 

My plans were interrupted by debilitating illness, Reiter’s syndrome.  Eventually, I was able to return to activity as the Medical Director of an Urgent Care Center near Charleston, SC (Mount Pleasant) and eventually did a residency in Anesthesiology at SUNY Stony Brook. 

In my 20 plus years as an Anesthesiologist, I served as Chief of OB Anesthesiology in one of the busiest OB programs in Pennsylvania, was Chief of the Acute Pain Service, and was on the Cardiac Anesthesia team.  I moved to North Carolina where I was the Chairman of the Anesthesia Department at Scotland Memorial Hospital, started a busy regional anesthesia service, started a chronic pain center and was involved in hospital governance, serving as Chief of the Medical Staff. 

Soon, I became enamored with pain management and opened the Carolina Center for Pain in Pinehurst, a free-standing interventional pain center.  I focused on doing spinal procedures to eliminate the pain generated and getting patients off of addictive pain medications.

It was a simple evolution to morph from injecting painful joint with steroids to using platelet rich plasma and stem cells to treat musculoskeletal maladies. I was one of the pioneers in this regenerative approach in North Carolina.  I was led to a novel approach to health and youth maintenance that seemed to resonate with the lessons I learned from my parents.  For several years I have been immersed in an anti-aging and regenerative approach that features the use of diet, nutrition and natural substances to maintain youth, health and beauty and continue to be fascinated as I learn new approaches. 

I am absolutely convinced, in the very fiber of my being,that we have only begun to scratch the surface of our potential as human beings.  We can continue to have intelligence, vitality and beauty as the years go by, if we will only stop our reliance of traditional medicine, and return to basics of nutrition and healthy living.  We need to stop relying on artificial substances, in agriculture and medicine, and learn instead to potentiate our natural healing processes.

Pat Benfield: Clinical Neurofeedback Specialist

At ILS, our neurofeedback specialist is Pat Benfield, MHDL, CRT, CBIS-CI, CCAA. Pat is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has a Masters in Human Development. She is a qEEG NeuroPsychoPhysiology Clinician with more than 40 years of experience helping children, adolescents, and adults with cognitive, behavioral, physical, and adjustment challenges.

For the last 22 years, Pat has focused on helping those with brain injury, cognitive aging issues, and other neurophysiological disorders. She has used biofeedback for more than 20 years and neurofeedback for more than 10 years to successfully treat disrupted and dysregulated physiology associated with stress, trauma, brain injuries and the constellation of related emotional, cognitive, and physical disorders.

Pat also has worked as a Clinical Coordinator for neuropsychologists and was instrumental in establishing the first successful day-treatment programs for rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury in Hickory and Charlotte, NC, where she obtained her initial training and experience in biofeedback and then furthered her training through the Biofeedback Therapist Training Institute.

Pat has received didactic training to read qEEG brain maps and administer scientifically based neurofeedback training from Richard Soutar, PhD, her mentor, and other well-known experts in the field of neurofeedback such as Robert W. Thatcher, PhD (Z-Score training); Kirtley Thornton, PhD (qEEG activation model); Tom and Linda Brownback, PhDs (Neurodiagnostic Evaluation and Training); Mark Smith, LCSW (InfraLow Frequency and Advanced Z-Score training); and Siegfried Othmer, PhD, and Sue Othmer, BA (SMR and ILF training), among many others.

She is a qualified expert and leader in the field of brain injury rehabilitation in her professional and local communities and has been qualified as an Expert Witness in legal proceedings as a Neurocognitive Rehabilitation Therapist and Vocational Evaluator.

Pat was one of the first clinicians to obtain her certification as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist and clinical instructor through the ACBIS.

Pat is a member in good standing in several professional organizations. She is an active Board member for the Southeast Biofeedback & Clinical Neuroscience Association (formerly known as the North Carolina Biofeedback Society), has served several terms as secretary and president and as Conference Planning Chair (2005-2012). She is an active Board member and treasurer (2007-present) with the International Society for Cognitive Rehabilitation. The organization’s primary focus is to assure high standards of ethical and professional practice in the evidence-based fields of biofeedback and neurofeedback and in cognitive rehabilitation.

Pat has written published and unpublished scientific papers on cognitive and psychosocial rehabilitation and use of qEEG and neurofeedback as efficacious treatments for brain injury and has made many conference presentations.

Paula Chiarmonte, MLS  
PSYCH-K®  Facilitator; Neurofeedback, Theragem™, 
and HeartQuest Technician

Serving as a senior consultant independently, and with national firms; Paula has advised nonprofit boards in major gift fundraising, for over fifteen years. Certified in planned giving, she trained library boards in California, funded by the California State Library.

Contributing to the arts, education, and business for over thirty years; she was recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities, funder of her definitive bibliography of American women artists, published in 1990. 

An academic librarian and nonprofit management consultant; more recently, Paula was a senior research analyst in economic development, specializing in healthcare. Studying transformational healthcare leadership at UCLA, she focused on complementary and integrative modalities.

Subsequently, she explored Dr. Bruce Lipton’s biology of belief, and Rob Williams’ PSYCH-K® technique; combining science and psychology. She trained extensively to become a facilitator, establishing her practice, Whole Brain Balancing in 2013.

Paula’s education includes an advanced degree in Library and Information Science and two undergraduate degrees in Design and Business Administration. She is certified in healthcare leadership, economic development, and planned giving. A lifelong learner, she volunteers for Hospice.

Charles Kirkman, CPC, LMBT #14450

As a massage and bodywork therapist, Charles enjoys the challenge in finding ways to help 
others live a more fulfilling, healthy life through the non-invasive use of therapeutic massage.

He graduated from Living Arts Institute and was trained in some of the latest techniques used in massage therapy today, such as deep tissue, myofascial release and trigger point therapy. These therapies can be very beneficial in relieving pain from many common issues relating to plantar fasciitis or muscle related nerve entrapment found with the brachial nerve plexus and sciatica.

Charles also has advanced certification in prenatal massage and can tailor a treatment for each trimester to provide drug-free relief from the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.

Kathy Groce, E #6078


Kathy has always had a passion for skin care and helping others look their best. Over 5 years ago Kathy made the decision to better her education on skin care and enrolled in the Artistic Academy in North Wilkesboro where she graduated with her esthetics degree. She was taught a full range of skin care services, products, and techniques to help her clients put their best face forward.Kathy is also a Theragem technician.



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