'It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.' Gabor Maté

Traumatic experiences, disconnection and other stressors, particularly in one's childhood, can impact negatively on our adult life and lead to a person using substances to kill the ongoing pain of those past experiences, which in turn can lead to addiction. This section focuses on trauma, and the healing of trauma, primarily from a Western cultural perspective. 

22nd September 2023

Three Things to Know About Mental Health and Trauma

‘Human beings are human beings. We don’t change our minds because a bunch of scientists publish a set of recommendations and issue them.... Those don’t change public opinion. What changes people are the storytellers in our society.'
21st September 2023

Safety and Reciprocity in Mental Health: Bessel van der Kolk

'Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to to calm down, heal and...'
20th September 2023

Fulfilling Trauma’s Hidden Promise: James Gordon

Dr Gordon briefly refers to several topics, but the main focus of his talk is on the Center’s work in Gaza. He starts by describing how he is sitting in Shigeo, a Gaza suburb bombed out during the war with Israel, with a group of eight children who have lost their fathers. He’s working with the children in a healing circle group.
19th September 2023

Transforming Trauma Self-Care Resources: James Gordon

'The Transformation will help you discover hidden resources of physical and mental energy and hope, as well as your capacity to imagine and make use of perspectives and solutions that may have previously been unthinkable. You may also discover the treasure of...'
18th September 2023

Relationships, Connection and Healing from Trauma: Bruce Perry

'... recovery from trauma and neglect is also all about relationships—rebuilding trust, regaining confidence, returning to a sense of security and reconnecting to love… healing and recovery are impossible—even with the best medications and therapy in the world—without lasting...'
17th September 2023

Without A Life Story: Bruce Perry

‘A fundamental and permeating strength of humankind is the capacity to form and maintain relationships—the capacity to belong. It is in the context of our clan, community and culture that we are born and raised. The brain-mediated set of complex capacities that allow one human to connect to another form the very basis for survival and has led to the ‘success’ of our species...'
16th September 2023

‘Healing is in Our Stories’ by Deron Drumm RIP

'The beautiful people that I am so grateful to know have found meaning in despair and have found the strength and courage to seek out their current life path. There is no question that they are stronger and more compassionate people because of their experiences.'
15th September 2023

On Relationships and Connectedness: Bruce Perry

‘... I’m very concerned about poverty of relationships in modern society. In our work, we find the best predictor of your current mental health is your current “relational health”, or connectedness. This connectedness is fueled by two things: the basic capabilities you’ve developed...'
14th September 2023

Healing Trauma – Overlooking Fundamental Truths: Bessel van der Kolk

The reality is that there is little evidence that mental illness is caused by specific chemical imbalances (the brain disease model), or that psychiatric drugs are actually beneficial to people in the long-term.
13th September 2023

‘What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing’: Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey

'Many of us experience adversity that has a lasting impact on our physical and emotional health. What happens to us in childhood is a powerful predictor of our risk for health problems down the road and offers scientific insights into the patterns of behaviors so many struggle to understand. Here, Winfrey shares stories from her own...
12th September 2023

How Childhood Trauma Can Make You A Sick Adult: Vincent Felitti

‘… with a so-called ACE score of six, experiencing any six of the ten categories we studied, that person was 4,600% more likely to become an IV drug user than a person who had experienced none of those ten categories. … you read in the newspaper the latest cancer scare of the week...'
11th September 2023

Learn the Signs and Symptoms of PTSD: Bessel van der Kolk

‘… the issue that people came in with was that they had a very hard time getting along with other people, not blowing up at people, becoming scared and frozen, having no feelings for their kids, feeling numb with their girl friends, and general problems with engagement with other human beings. And then getting triggers and becoming very angry, very upset and very out-of-sort…'
10th September 2023

Recovery from Trauma, Part 2: Judith Herman

'Trauma isolates; the group re-creates a sense of belonging. Trauma shames and stigmatises; the group bears witness and affirms. Trauma degrades the victim; the group exalts her. Trauma dehumanizes the victim; the group restores her humanity.'
9th September 2023

Recovery from Trauma: Judith Herman

‘The core experiences of psychological trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others. Recovery, therefore, is based upon the empowerment of the survivor and the creation of new connections. Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation.'
8th September 2023

Addiction and Psychological Pain: Gabor Maté

'It is critical to understand that although addiction is a problem it is also an attempt to solve a graver problem that is, unbearable psychic pain. To understand addiction we need to understand human pain and that takes us to focus on childhood experiences. One of the outcomes...'