The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

NY Times features our model for healing PTSD

This week we had an important advancement in our work bringing the healing power of mind-body medicine to US military and veterans. The New York Times published a strong article that features our work as the focal point in discussing effective new approaches to treating trauma and preventing suicide in the VA.

In the article, “For Veterans, a Surge of New Treatments for Trauma”, published yesterday online, author Tina Rosenberg says “The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s program…is the most comprehensive of all [treatments], giving participants a variety of different strategies to choose from: breathing, meditation, guided visual imagery, bio-feedback, self-awareness, dance, self-expression, drawing. And it is the one with the strongest evidence that it works to cure PTSD.”

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An Open Door in Gaza

The first day’s meeting with our Gaza leadership team opens the door, actually frames the whole visit. There’s Jamil—our Program Director, and nineteen others—psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers. They have day jobs in Gaza’s ministries, at the UN, and in the red crescent, and a variety of local NGOs. Many have been with us since 2005 when they came to the first training. They lead our programs in the institutions in which they work, supervise the 420 clinicians and educators we have trained in Gaza and meet together every week to learn from one another and make our program as good and as easily available as it can be. Jamil and his team are responsible for bringing our work to, so far, 50,000 Palestinian children and adults.

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Our Work in Haiti: How Do You Connect?

Our work in Haiti starts with our faculty sharing expertise in mind-body medicine with Haitian health professionals and educators in a series of professional trainings. The techniques they learn are healing for them, their families and their communities.

  • National Team Leader, Regine Laroche, focuses on helping traumatized individuals rebuild themselves from the inside and regain a sense of hope.
  • Haiti Country Director Linda Métayer, MPH, focuses on bringing self-care programs to communities lacking mental health services.
  • CMBM creates structure, context, and clinical supervision for these programs to reach a national level.

How do you connect?

Our wonderful donors provide the support that starts this movement with the individual and spreads out to a country-wide level. Please consider giving now to help provide the healing the Haitian people need.

Your support means the world!

Our Work in Haiti: The Need

Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) in Haiti has not only ensued from the physical, political and economic environments, but also from the internal devastation felt by the individual. Our team of Haitian health-care providers, educators and team leaders recognized their own pain and saw the need in their communities for support. Follow their journey as they work to heal Haiti form the individual to national levels.

Our Work in Haiti: The Healing

“CMBM believes we have the ability to rebuild ourselves”. Take a minute to breathe with Jean Nervian Batichon – banana farmer, community leader, devoted son and part of our CMBM family in Jacmel. He shows us how CMBM helped him find the internal strength to care for himself and those he loves.

Our Work in Haiti: The Impact

The people you see in this video are our brothers and sisters. We bring them hope for healing the terrible losses they experienced in the January 2010 earthquake. Their unaffected courage, their warmth, joy and humor as they learn to heal themselves give me hope for all of us.

I very much look forward to reading your comments.

 

This is the first of a new series of videos that we’ll be sharing about our work in Haiti.

Learn more about our Global Trauma Relief work in Haiti

Donate now! Your help means the world to us.

Hope Amidst the Rubble

We’re so pleased to have our work in Haiti featured in Gaim Life’s Stories of Hope series!

Read our article entitled Hope Amidst the Rubble: How a non-profit is working to make life better in Haiti, two years after a devastating earthquake.

Please like and share!

Letters The New York Times Chose Not to Print: #2

I wanted to make sure you saw this one because it’s relevant to the 2nd anniversary of the BP Oil Spill and because Joe Nocera’s tone and column were so troubling-and The Times’ response to informed criticism, absent. No Letters to The Editor were published about this column.

What follows is my Letter that didn’t get published, and a link to the original piece titled “The Phony Settlement.”

To the Editor of The New York Times

Re: The Phony Settlement by Joe Nocera March 10, 2012

James S. Gordon

In claiming the moral high ground in his critique of possibly inflated claims resulting from BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill, the usually fair-minded Joe Nocera, tramples on the truth.

According to Nocera, only “700 sought compensation” for health reasons from Kennith Feinberg at the Gulf Coast Claims facility. But the health consequences, apparently unclaimed until now, are likely to be far more extensive and far worse.

Working in Plaquemines Parish my colleagues and I have met hundreds of previously healthy people now marked by skin lesions, often wheezing and tremulous as well as anxious and depressed. And authoritative studies on the population and the toxic consequences of both the oil spill and the dispersants that were used—in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of American Medical Association, and the Annals of Internal Medicine—suggest that more dire consequences are to come including liver and heart disease and the kinds of genetic mutations that lead to cancer.

Here as elsewhere it is the already vulnerable population–the poor and unemployed, children, pregnant women, and those previously displaced by Katrina—who will be most affected. These people, whom Mr. Nocera seems to dismiss as “runny-nose[d]” complainers, are the ones about whom we should care—who should be compensated.


“The Phony Settlement”

James S. Gordon MD, a psychiatrist, is the author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression and the Founder, Director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC, and Dean of the College of Mind-Body Medicine with Saybrook University.

Letters The New York Times Chose Not to Print: Occasional Postings

Like many people I know, I’ve long been in continual dialogue with The New York Times, my breakfast companion for over 60 years. Often I’ve nodded my head with appreciation when The Times reporters have brought back news from far away or previously ignored places, or its columnists have set out a position with which I agreed or one I was groping toward. Sometimes I’ve been stumped, particularly by the arcana of financial reporting. And on occasion—coverage of the run-up to the war in Iraq comes to mind—I’ve found myself shouting at the folded paper, even shaking my fist.

I’ve written for The Times occasionally, over more than 40 years, mostly for The Book Review but also for the Science section. The Times has also written about me and my work, mostly quite favorably. And I’ve also written letters. A couple have been published, and a number of them have been rejected. Or is “ignored” the better word?

Perhaps it’s vanity or the infirmity that comes with age—or maybe it’s just experience and conviction—that makes me feel I have something to say that others should attend to. In any case, I decided that I’m going to share with you what doesn’t appear in The Times to let opinions and words that may have seemed peripheral, tendentious, or perhaps too challenging to The Times staff, find a more welcoming home.

What I’m going to do is publish the letter I wrote here with a link to the original article and another to the letters The Times did choose to publish. I hope you’ll find this experiment interesting and that it will also inspire you to let your own voices be heard. In any case, please let me know what you think.

This first posting, below, concerns a column by Nicholas Kristof “A Veteran’s Death, The Nation’s Shame,” which I admired, which appeared on April 15th, together with the letters that were in the paper today, April 20th.

Preventing Military Suicide with Self-Care

James S. Gordon, M.D.

In his poignant piece on escalating post-deployment military suicides (NYT, April 15), Nicholas Kristof writes that “we refurbish tanks after time in combat, but don’t much help men and women exorcise the demons of war.”

There are in fact programs that do address these demons successfully and in ways that are stigma free and widely acceptable to the military and their families. Unfortunately they are not yet widely available.

These programs are based on the understanding that persistent stress and trauma may come to all who are in combat; and that practical self-care skills like meditation, guided imagery and movement can provide prospective on and address the agitation and aggression, the overwhelming memories, isolation, despair, and suicidal feelings—the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—that may come in its wake.

At The Center for Mind-Body Medicine we have used this approach to reduce symptoms of war-related PTSD by 80%-in Kosovo and Gaza. The 300 US military and VA clinicians whom we have trained and the active duty, veterans, and family members with whom they work, appreciate the stress-reducing, mood enhancing practicality of our “mind-body” program. They embrace the opportunity to express themselves without fear of censure, or career foreclosure, in small groups whose support is reminiscent of combat units.

We are currently undertaking a Department of Defense funded randomized controlled trial of this method with war-traumatized US vets. Others are doing similar studies with similar approaches. Our preliminary results are promising, but research is slow and the time for many vets, like Ryan and Michael, is short. The Defense Department and the VA need to move ahead swiftly to offer this program and others to the hundreds of thousands who can make good, perhaps life-saving use of them.

“A Veteran’s Death, The Nation’s Shame”

“Letters to the Editor, April 20th, 2012″

James S. Gordon MD, a psychiatrist, is the author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression and the Founder, Director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC, and Dean of the College of Mind-Body Medicine with Saybrook University.

Day 5: Images of Our Time Together

So much happens to all of us in the Jacmel training as we go deeper, become more aware, take chances, and connect over five days.

Our faculty faces fears of not performing well, of not sleeping at night, and of missing what is muffled in translation. We take the chance of feeling our uncertainty of daily supervision and are gratified that our colleagues have at least as much compassion for us as we feel for those we are helping.

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