Hello, I’m Peter Berg. I’m a board certified holistic mental health coach, a holistic health coach, educator, author, blogger, naturalist, youth voice, author of the #1 Best-Selling book, The Tao of Teenagers, A Guide to Teen Health, Happiness & Empowerment and an educational advocate who works on various initiatives to transform education. Over the past 20 years I have been an educator, educational leader, health coach and youth advocate.
I want to share the story of my personal journey with you, how I came to work with youth in the areas of holistic health, educational options and empowering them to be masters of their lives.
My Passion is Born
Growing up in New York, I went to large public schools, had lots of friends, played sports and explored various activities that interested me.
I loved learning and was interested in what happened in school, though not necessarily in the typical ‘subject’ areas.
I was fascinated by the daily interactions people would have with each other and their surroundings and wondered what made people tick.
This gave rise to one of my passions: Holistic health.
It was interesting to me that many adults forgot what it was like to be a teenager or didn’t consider their specific needs.
My Passion Develops
I was fortunate to have had the intuition and drive to seek out the pieces that make up an individual’s health.
At first I sought out the traditional pieces.
I learned about anatomy and physiology, devoured anything I could get on exercise and keeping fit and read the latest nutrition books.
I always maintained my connection with the natural world and was always outside.
I was drawn to healing and how to help people heal.
Somehow I knew that healing wasn’t always about the body.
I wondered why youth were left out of the conversations about health and healing.
Exploring My Passion
I had this nagging feeling that there was more to health than just working out and eating right.
My initial exposure to Martial Arts started me down the road of the mind-body-spirit connection.
I spent the next years of my life exploring these connections through Western Medicine, Psychology and Eastern philosophies of health where mind, body and spirit were naturally connected.
This resonated with me on a deep intuitive level.
My belief that health and healing was about an individualized blend of mind-body-spirit was further cemented.
I noticed how youth, especially teenagers were disempowered when it came to their health.
Expanding My Passion
Deep in my soul I always knew I would be an educator and healer.
My passion for health, people, learning, the natural world and healing led me to pursuing my degree in Health Education with my eye on becoming a health teacher in a local public school.
This same passion led me to pursue a Masters Degree in Environmental Education, a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis on leadership and progressive education, and certification as Holistic Mental Health, and Holistic Health Coach.
I was driven by a desire to help young people learn about their health, how to nourish themselves and be empowered to be masters of their own lives.
As I continued to pursue my learning, I realized that there are many ways we nourish ourselves.
We nourish our mind, our body and our spirit in different ways.
I started to understand that our surroundings, our environment, how we learn and what we do every day is part of how we nourish ourselves.
It occurred to me that most young people spend six hours a day, five days a week in school.
How they spend this time has a profound impact on how they are able to nourish themselves, on their overall health and even on their ability to heal.
Pursuing My Passion
I worked in an alternative school that focused on helping students with emotional needs that could not be met in a traditional setting.
This was very exciting to me and for a time it was rewarding.
While there were some great gains made by students, I couldn’t resolve the feeling that something was missing.
The focus was heavy on the mental health aspect; very little of the connection between mind-body-spirit was explored or acknowledged.
Students were not encouraged to have healthy habits around nutrition or other areas of their lives, and for the most part, students were not involved in any significant way in their own healing.
I went on to take a position as health and science teacher in a large public school system.
I was ecstatic!
I would get to help young people take control of their health.
I started to teach lessons on health and felt I was doing some good.
As time went on, I noticed that the surroundings students were subjected to was completely unhealthy.
They were viewed as empty vessels to be filled, not as people with knowledge, ideas, opinions and perspectives of their own.
Any hint of intuition was subject to a systematic attempt to suppress it.
I realized that this was not the way students learn; this was a completely disempowering mindset shared by many adults.
My Passion Becomes A Mission
I traveled the country working in various alternative education environments, including outdoor education and wilderness therapy.
My mission was to find places where I could work with youth in ways that were holistic, where they honored their inner voice, knowledge, intuition and focused on their overall health.
I spent a lot of this time building relationships, talking with and just listening to youth.
It struck me that so many youth craved someone who would just listen and advocate for them.
Many of the youth I worked with gave little thought to their health, were confused about how they could be healthy and were taught not to listen to their inner voice.
Often they were subjected to unhealthy practices that adults thought were good for them or that adults had little time or inclination to seriously consider.
While there are places that take youth health seriously, sometimes even in these environments youth do not get the chance to see out knowledge, mentors and strategies that empower them to take ownership of their health, and ultimately, their lives.
My mission is to teach youth and families to be empowered to be masters of their lives and health and to have the means to create these transformations.
Living My Passion
I do what I love and I love what I do, so it really isn’t work.
It’s a way of life and a drive to empower young people to be masters of their own lives, to have real choices in how they nourish themselves.
My personal health journey has many paths that connect.
Some of the struggles along the way — particularly my struggle with Lyme disease — were humbling and very informative.
I believe health is about connecting all the different things that make us who we are and that there are many roads to health and healing.
I am grateful to be able to bring together my experience, knowledge, training and passion to help empower youth to take charge of their health and become masters of their lives without medication, diets or suppressing their inner voice.