Tagged Dr. Gordon

In Jacmel: The Missing Twin

 

The loss of life here in Jacmel is far less than in Port-au-Prince but the burden is still heavy. There are of course the ordinary deaths that come with age, and the losses of younger people cut down by accident, sudden illness, or murder. And in the background for everyone in this coastal city, and all the surrounding communities, as well as in Port-au-Prince, is the tide of losses that came with the January 2010 earthquake. The deaths of children seem the hardest to bear.

Read more

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Amazing Graces: Days 2 & 3 in Jacmel

By the second day there are actually 135 participants-almost 180 of us altogether. The ones who didn’t come to the opening are present and others from the waiting list have found a way. There are thirteen in most of our small groups.

One of the remarkable things about our trainings is how often people who at first seem utterly closed down—walled off with indifference and suspicion, sunken beneath sorrow—suddenly come alive, sharing what they have not spoken of before; discovering new worlds of feelings, possibilities, hope.

Read more

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Day 1 of the Training- Jacmel, Haiti

The view from Soeurs Salesiennes school where we are doing our training opens out to the sea of Haiti’s south coast. Nuns glide quietly over the grounds and little girls in white blouses and blue jumpers with beribboned hair skip hand in hand.

We are working in a school because no hotel in Jacmel can accommodate our crew-120 trainees plus 40 international faculty, interns, interpreters and staff. We need separate rooms for each of a dozen small groups as well as the grande salle for all 160. Many of the students are on vacation for Carnival and the Sisters who run the school have generously made it available to us.

Read more

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

In Haiti

The Center always begins meetings with meditation- to calm and center us after rushing to arrive. Now we are here, together– preparing to focus as a team to accomplish the work at hand.

This is the pre-program staff meeting yesterday in Jacmel, Haiti, where the Center is training 120 care providers in our Initial Mind-Body Medicine program. Initial and advanced trainings have been held previously in Port-au-Prince, and some of those trained are now part of a Haiti Leadership Team serving as interns in this training. Dr. Gordon and Center faculty are guiding the deep process of learning that begins today. The trainees will learn the science and practice of self-care, in a supportive small-group setting. They need this support themselves, and will learn to share it with their families and their communities in Jacmel.

Blessings on the work!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

The Magic of Presence

I never miss watching Jim Gordon, Center Founder & Director, lead the fishbowl exercise at our Advanced Mind-Body Medicine training program. In a fishbowl, for those of you who haven’t experienced it, chairs are arranged in concentric circles, with those seated in the large outer circles acting as witnesses to the activity in the smaller circle within.

In this case, Dr. Gordon invites trainees to volunteer to be part of a Mind-Body Skills Group– something that is usually quite private, among a group of 10 to 12 people including the facilitator– but in this instance is quite public. It takes a great deal of courage for volunteers to raise their hands.  One physician said during the process last week when asked why she wanted to participate, “Well, 3 minutes ago I didn’t even know I did!” She felt moved, in the moment, to join in the experiment.

Read more

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

In the Science Times

This letter of mine appeared in The New York Times yesterday (in somewhat shortened form), under the title, “Alternatives to New Drugs.”

To the Editor of The Science Times:

Richard Friedman (“New Drugs Have Allure, Not Track Record,” May 19, 2009) is appropriately troubled by the loss of a “larger context” by physicians who prescribe newer, aggressively marketed drugs preferentially to older, less expensive but more reliable ones. His own therapeutic context is, however, far too narrow.

In evaluating treatments for mood disorders, psychiatrists (and the comparative effectiveness studies proposed by the Obama Administration) must enlarge their perspective well beyond drug therapies. My own work over the last forty years, and my reading of the “evidence-based” scientific literature, strongly suggest that an integrative, non-pharmacological approach based on self-awareness and self-care is in many cases significantly superior to drug treatment.

This kind of integrative approach, which may include meditation, physical exercise, dietary modification and supplements, and psychotherapy has been shown to enhance biological as well as psychological functioning—decreasing stress hormones, shifting electrical patterns to portions of the brain associated with optimism, and improving neurotransmitter levels along with mood—without the negative side effects that often accompany drugs. Moreover, such an approach, carefully individualized to meet the needs of each anxious, depressed, and troubled person, significantly enhances the damaged self-esteem of patients who, using it, experience the satisfaction of helping themselves.

-James S. Gordon, M.D.

Dr. Gordon, a psychiatrist, is the author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Gaza Mind-Body Training in the News

Dear Friends,

Check out the great AP story by Karin Laub about our Gaza training–

At the Washington Post (you may have to close an ad first to read it)

Or at Google News

It’s an great take on how our mind-body skills training is an unconventional fit, but an immense help, to people within the Palestinian culture. (Great picture of me shaking & dancing up front, too (!!!))

We’re in Israel now—flying back to the States soon. More soon.

All the best,

Jim

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Going to Israel and Gaza

Dear Friends,

I’m getting ready to get on the plane for Tel Aviv, and begin this round of work in Israel and Gaza. (Read about our current work in the middle east here.)  You can get more info on the work we’ve done in psychological trauma relief in Kosovo, Israel, Gaza, and in the US here.

We plan to spend a few days working in Israel with our team of CMBM-trained professionals there, then (hopefully) make our way into Gaza to train 150 more professionals (on top of the 90 already trained) in mind-body skills that will help them to help heal the widespread terrible anxiety, anger, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and grief resulting from the latest conflict. We believe this work will eventually reach hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza, not to mention Israel–we believe we’re the only program working in both Israel and Gaza.

Right now, we’re just hoping to get in and start making a difference to the people who have suffered so much from this conflict.  This work is so difficult, and so necessary. We hope you’ll hold the safety of our team and the success of our mission in your minds and hearts— 

Sending all my best,

Jim

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

We Must Consider CAM for Depression

Dear Readers,

Despite a hectic schedule this January, I’m hoping to keep my blog up-to-date with the exciting events in my practice and at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM).

A quick look at my schedule/to-do list:

I’ve just finished leading (along with Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN, my co-director) The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s professional training program in nutrition, Food as Medicine, in San Francisco.

We’re also moving forward with our exciting work with the US Military training health and mental health professionals who are working with active-duty military as well as in the Veterans Administration to use mind-body techniques with vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe depression, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury. Over 100 of these professionals came to the first phase of our professional training program in mind-body medicine in Minnesota in October 2008. Here’s some data on the difference our training made to them. Most of them are returning for our advanced training–where we teach them how to lead the same kind of mind-body skills groups in which they participated in the first training—this weekend, from January 31-February 4th, once again in Minneapolis.

We’re also moving ahead with a research study funded by the Department of Defense on the use of our model with traumatized veterans and their families.

Last but not least, 30 of us–health professionals, policy makers, and just plain folks–gathered together in my home to develop a report to make recommendations for a National Health Plan to the Daschle/Obama Health and Human Services Administration. We’re continuing to explore ways for CMBM to be involved in creating a top-down support for truly universal and integrative health care for all Americans.

In other news, a recent op-ed of mine was published in the Clinical Psychiatry News, entitled “We Must Consider CAM for Depression.” You can read this succinct argument for wider use of integrative therapies, versus drug-centric treatment, here (you will have to create an account on this website to access it if you don’t already subscribe to CPN, though–sorry.) I was also published in the New York Times science section, writing about a friend and colleague of mine in Gaza going through the terrible bombings there. Read that one here.

Let me know your thoughts about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and how we’re bringing it out into the world! I’ll be in touch too.

Jim

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail