GI Behavioral Medicine

  • GI Psychology Expertise

    Dr. Taft joined the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2004 as a research assistant during graduate school. Since then she has worked with world-renown experts in functional digestive illnesses such as IBS, inflammatory bowel diseases, and eosinophilic GI diseases. Dr. Taft helped launch the first fully integrated GI behavioral medicine service in the United States with Dr. Laurie Keefer, a leading expert in the psychology of chronic digestive illness. She has published over 50 research articles, book chapters, and scientific poster presentations evaluating how digestive illnesses impact patients' mental well-being and quality of life. She asssited with a 7 year clinical trial testing cognitive behavioral therapy for IBS and works closely with Dr. Olafur Palsson at the University of North Carolina, a pioneer in the use of gut-directed hypnotherapy for Gi illness. Dr. Taft has worked with hundreds of patients living with chronic digestive illnesses both at Northwestern and in our practice.

  • Ostomy Expertise

    Stephanie Horgan is an expert in helping those living with a temporary or permanent ostomy. She has been an invited speaker at the United Ostomy Association of America, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, and the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society annual conferences to speak to patients, caregivers, and medical professionals about the psychological impacts of life with an ostomy. Stephanie has a thorough understanding of ostomy supplies, wound care, and complications that may arise. She is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people living with ostomy and devotes a percentage of her time in the practice for ostomy patients.

  • Gut Directed Hypnotherapy

    Medical hypnosis is an evidence-based treatment for chronic pain syndromes including irritable bowel syndrome. The first clinical trial to study hypnotherapy for IBS was done in 1984. Since then, dozens of studies have evaluated its effectiveness in directly treating abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habits that often occur with IBS. A 2015 review of over 1000 cases where gut directed hypnotherapy was used to treat IBS found that it is effective for over 70% of patients. All of our clinicians are trained to use hypnotherapy and we follow the University of North Carolina treatment protocol created by Dr. Oli Palsson. Contrary to stage or movie presentations of hypnosis, gut-directed hypnotherapy is a passive, deep relaxation experience that is designed to heal broken connections in the brain-gut axis that we believe play a role in IBS and other functional GI conditions. While the most research has been done for IBS, gut directed hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for other conditions such as globus, cyclic vomiting, functional dyspepsia or heartburn that does not respond to medications, and even maintaining remission in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.