Dr. John A. Horton: Westlake’s Physician for the Stressed 1

Dr. John A. Horton is a general practice physician in Westlake Village committed to preventive medicine and developing an integrated, holistic approach to treating patients. He focuses much of his attention on helping to eliminate and manage people’s stress levels, because he believes stress opens the door to illness and disease.

A graduate of Duke University’s prestigious School of Medicine in 1970, Dr. Horton has spent much of his professional career developing his skill in the biopsychosocial model. In practice, the model attributes disease causation to the intricate interaction of biological factors, such as genetics; psychological factors, like mood, personality and behavior; and social factors, such as cultural and family.

In 1989, Dr. Horton co-founded the medical group of Hanzelik, Horton and Daya in Westlake Village, where he works with each person he sees to integrate all aspects of their lives—biological, mental and social. He shows patients how to use their inner strengths, shield themselves from stress and gain balance and wisdom to more fully enjoy their lives.

“Life favors us loving and appreciating it. This is built into us,” he says. “We can discover and nurture these abilities, which can help protect us from problems of chronic stress.”

While maintaining his medical practice in Westlake Village, Dr. Horton was asked to co-direct an outpatient hospice in the Valley. He found that most people living out their last days suffered immensely and unnecessarily due to the stress of their circumstances. The patients’ families were also overly burdened with the realities they faced. He set about to help ease the pain and anxiety through his counsel.

Later, Dr. Horton brought this experience and understanding to Thousand Oaks as a founding board member of Our Community House of Hope (OCHH), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, end-of-life residence. The mission of OCHH is to provide “a loving home for those who are dying and educate the community on end-of-life issues.”

The aim of the home is to provide the very best, continuous care to those in their final stages of life so they may die with dignity and comfort, but never alone. They believe families and friends also deserve as much care as those dying and that “death should be a part of a personal story rather than a medical event.”

Dr. Horton hopes to expand the operations of OCHH, which operates solely on donations. “No one is ever turned away due to income,” says Dr. Horner. “This is a wonderful legacy for patients, their families and friends, which emphasizes psychological and social care for a graceful conclusion of one’s life.”

In addition to Dr. Horton’s medical practice, he is passionate about imparting his knowledge through seminars, lectures and workshops. In July, he is going to conduct a health and well-being seminar with noted sports psychologist Tim Gallwey to discuss ideas and tools to help people steer away from stress by tapping into their own inner strengths and resources.

Dr. Horton also loves sharing time with his wife Stella, engaging in conversation, playing golf, swimming and hiking. Then, too, he enjoys writing. With his business partner Dr. Edd Hanzelik, Dr. Horton co-authored a book with Gallwey titled, The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life’s Challenges and Fulfill Your Potential.

The book offers a unique, empowering guide to overcoming such stresses as fear, self-doubt, pain, frustration and worry. Gallwey’s premise is that, like in any athletic competition, strength comes from within. He believes the “game” is mastered and we succeed when we can handle the internal obstacles produced by stress.

Dr. Horton is quick to point out that we don’t have to be elite athletes—or athletic at all—to keep the game of life in perspective and end up a winner. “We need to change the playing field. Life is for enjoying, not for reacting to everything,” he says.

“In the book, we talk about how stress attacks every aspect of our well-being. Our negative self-talk undermines our daily lives and makes us sick—mentally and physically. Pressure is inevitable, but we can shield against the stress that comes with it by learning to properly and healthily rest, relax and trust in ourselves,” he explains.

Dr. Horton draws his inspiration and clarity from the words of his friend and teacher Prem Rawat, who believes, “Ninety-nine percent of well-being comes from inside.” And Dr. Horton is intent upon helping people understand and effectively deal with chronic stress, so it doesn’t keep them from being all they can be.

For more information about Dr. Horner and OCHH, visit OurHouseofHope.org.