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About Joan's Journey

A long road towards better health & wellness

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.   – Lao-tzu
I’m a Clinical Psychologist in private practice in New York City.


A main focus in my clinical practice is to help people become aware of mind-body interactions, especially their ‘gut feelings’ and other physical manifestations of their emotions, to be able to grow to be their true selves.

In an earlier phase of my life I was engaged in social science research projects at the


  • Department of Medical Genetics

  • New York State Psychiatric Institute

  • Massachusetts Mental Health Center

  • Harvard University Medical School

  • The Medical Foundation (Boston) 

  • the Center for International Affairs

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • and the Stanford Research Institute 


I was also Project Director for the Youth Leadership in Smoking Control Project under a National Interagency Council on Smoking and Health grant to the Lung Association of Mid-Maryland.

The Oriental Medicine Journal has published two of my articles: 

Many of the topics here are expanded versions of sections from the 2014 article. They’re identified at the bottom of the relevant pages.

In my  life as an artist, I make custom hand painted ceramic art tiles in my Hardin Tiles studio in New York City.


I’m a life long cook – now developing healthier gluten free recipes. Some years ago I did catering for private clients – before I thought better of it – and more recently taught a gluten-free/dairy-free cooking workshop.

Other interests include yoga and Kinetic Awareness therapeutic ball work, meditation, travel, gardening (when I had one), cats and dogs, reading … and just generally learning new and interesting things.


The healer’s Hippocratic Oath instructing physicians to do no harm or injustice to patients has always seemed to me to be of the utmost importance. Yet doctors too often make dangerous risk-benefit calculations when prescribing drugs for their patients – even when excellent non-pharmaceutical alternatives are available.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  – Benjamin Franklin
Simply put, the Allergies and Your Gut website is about how an unbalanced, impaired gut microbiota produces chronic inflammation in the body, which can eventually turn into disease or a disorder.
My hope is the information on the site will help you turn that statement around – into knowledge about how to keep your gut flora balanced and healthy so your body will be free of inflammation and disease.
This mind-body website likely wouldn’t have come into being if I hadn’t been who I was from the outset – a little person with Sensory-Processing Sensitivity who noticed everything even when I didn’t want to, was driven to distraction by the flickering of fluorescent lights and high pitched noises, had a bit of synesthesia (my first-grade teacher was puzzled when I insisted the number 3 is bright yellow and 4 is a lovely cherry red), had huge reactions to alcohol and pharmaceuticals, and didn’t easily make small talk. My father frequently criticized me for being ‘just too sensitive’, a trait I actually inherited from him. People were either drawn to my intensity or put off by it. I was always a sponge for learning so most teachers liked me.
If you recognize any of this, you are not alone. 15-20% of humanity is in this category. Elaine Aron has been researching high sensitivity since 1991 and has written several useful books on the topic: The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Child, The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, and The Highly Sensitive Person Workbook.

Joan Rothchild Hardin, PhD

Joan Rothchild Hardin pic.8.22.2020.jpg

Years of unhappy encounters with Western pharmaceutical treatments for various ailments of mine, my family, pets and patients gradually led me to seek more information and healthier alternatives that were more effective and didn’t cause collateral damage often worse than the original problem.

The adjective iatrogenic, meaning  ‘induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures’, has become necessary all too often these days to describe deleterious side effects from the practice of medicine.


My deep thanks to the many people who have been my teachers over the years – too numerous to name all of them here. I owe special thanks to Dr Denice Hilty, Carol Hornig, Dr David Miller, Ellen Saltonstall and Na’ama Yehuda.



Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection: Case Study. Oriental Medicine Journal,  Summer, 19:4, 24-37.  See:

Hardin, J.R. (2014). The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: The Constant Two-Way Communication Between Our Guts and Our Brains. Oriental Medicine Journal, Spring,22:3,1-37. See:

© Copyright 2013-2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

With doctors, I was often considered a “difficult” patient since Western medicine, with its reliance on pharmaceuticals, caused me many problems, large and small. I recall telling a physician that the corticosteroid he’d given me for conjunctivitis that turned into a massive sinus infection produced itchy bumps under my left armpit that lasted well over a year. He huffily told me he’d never heard of such a symptom and the drug would have been out of my system long before that anyway. Last year I met another highly sensitive person who told me she’d had the same reaction to a corticosteroid given to her as a child and no one believed her either.

So there I was, moving through life, becoming increasingly allergic to various things (dust, cats, foods) and trying to find medical help but then reacting even more severely to pretty much all the medicines I was prescribed.

Eventually, I began viewing health in a more holistic way and realized I was going to have to find my own way to achieve it. I did research, sought help from alternative medical care providers: chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga, therapeutic massage – and came to appreciate the concept of mind-body medicine for healing myself. At that point, I became a lot more interested in prevention than cure.

Small wonder I became a psychotherapist interested in mind-body interactions and most of the people I work with are also highly sensitive people.

About This Website

A long road towards better health & wellness

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