Skip to main content

About Dr. Taft

About Mind Your Body

I'm Dr. Tiffany Taft, a licensed clinical health psychologist in the Chicago area who works with adults living with chronic medical illnesses.  I also live with 2 chronic digestive diseases, Crohn's disease (since 2002) and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (since 2016). After graduating from college, I took a 7 year hiatus from schooling. I learned a heck of a lot about life through jobs from baking bread to selling cigars to doing marketing work for American Express then writing ASP.NET code for web applications at a global commercial real estate company. In 2002, getting diagnosed with Crohn's propelled me back onto my path to become a clinical psychologist.

I didn't plan to go into gastroenterology, which a lot of people ask, but having Crohn's opened doors for me at Northwestern University where I've worked since 2004.  I met my mentor, Dr. Laurie Keefer, in 2005. My research at Northwestern has spanned irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (I think that's where I caught it - just kidding), achalasia, and gastroparesis.

I also run a small group private practice of psychologists dedicated to working with people living with chronic illness located in Oak Park, IL.

I believe in the sheer importance of how mental and physical well-being interact, and how one can influence the other.

I also believe that all people can make healthy changes in their lives through education, self-reflection, and becoming aware of the power of their self-talk.

I hope the intersection of my two worlds helps anyone reading feel less alone, and maybe learn a few things along the way.

Disclaimer:  I do tend to swear and use sarcasm. Some research suggests this means I'm smart.

The Formal "About Me"

Dr. Taft is a licensed clinical psychologist and expert on the psychological and social aspects of life with chronic digestive conditions. She has over 10 years of extensive experience and has published several articles on the psychological aspects of these conditions. Dr. Taft is Clinical Research Associate at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and a leading expert on the psychosocial issues people living with chronic digestive conditions face. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship within the Center for Psychosocial Research in GI at NU. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2009 after completing a 1-year internship at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago.

Popular posts from this blog

Let's Talk About "All In Your Head"

If I had to vote for a phrase, just 4 short words, that cause more problems in our society than most others it would be these:
All in your head.
To hear these words as a person with medical symptoms brings about such a cascade of thoughts. Anything from "My doctor doesn't believe me" to "Are my symptoms really happening?" with corresponding emotions of anxiety, confusion, anger, even rage.
I spend a lot of time undoing the damage these 4 words can do in the patients I see. They've been told, either directly or indirectly, their disease is psychologically based. And that means it's really not that bad, that they should just get over it and move on. It's a running thread in most of the patients with any "functional" diagnosis I've seen, such as irritable bowel syndrome, but also appears in those with "organic" conditions - those diseases perceived as real like inflammatory bowel disease.
These 4 words are part of the fundamenta…

Bubbles

I've been thinking a lot about how we live in an era of infinite access to infinite information (thanks, internet tubes!) yet we still fall into many of the well-established psychological laws, if we can call them that, of human behavior.  Don't worry, this isn't going to be some drawn out post on social psychology. Wikipedia is great for that.

I want to talk about bubbles.  Information bubbles, that is. And how each one of us lives in one to some extent, no matter how educated or enlightened we see ourselves to be. And even if we know we live in said bubble, it takes being shown information that directly conflicts with how you think things are, or should be, and the result is you feel kinda ew - the technical term for "ew" being cognitive dissonance.

I live in a bubble.

In my bubble is the world of academic medicine, academic health psychology, and a circle of psychologists dedicated to people living with chronic digestive illness.  I live in Chicago, a major me…

Medical PTSD

“It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.”  - Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five 
A few years ago, my gastroenterologist wanted me to have something called an esophageal manometry to better understand how my newly diagnosed eosinophilic esophagitis may have been affecting how the muscles in my esophagus were functioning.  I work with the guys who wrote the book on esophageal disease, and these guys do a lot of manometries. I know all about esophageal manometry.

My mind immediately went to images of a small bowel enteroclysis I'd had at least a decade prior. My body grew tense and it was almost as if I was back in that cold room with the cold metal table and the cold radiologist, who just didn't believe me when I told her how bad my gag reflex was before she placed a tube down my throat to inject my small intestines with barium.

It took what seemed like forever to get th…