Shaking and Dancing in the Ring of Fire

February 10, 2015

My participation in the first Center for Mind-Body Medicine training workshop in Israel in 2004 marked the beginning of a personal and professional transformation that reverberates in me still. Today, the integration of mind-body skills with CBT (cognitive behavioral treatment), of which I am a therapist, supervisor and instructor, is central to all that I do. I use them in a variety of cultural settings: Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, secular, ultra-orthodox.

For the past two years I have been lead psychologist in a program sponsored by AJJDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) that is developing Psychosocial Disaster Response Readiness in mountain villages in Indonesia. In this context I have had the fortune to meet, train, collaborate with and befriend Indonesian villagers, professionals, community and national leaders. The project has been presented at national conferences, and is working towards nation-wide dissemination through the National Emergency Response Commission.

During these two years I have led people in breathing, drawing, shaking, dancing and dialoging on mountaintop early warning posts, at the site of devastating landslides, in view of erupting volcanoes, and near flooded riverbeds. Whether planned or impromptu, the reaction to these exercises is invariably enthusiastic and in follow up visits I am told the exercises are making their way into both village culture and university life.

Throughout, I aspire to bring to all of my work the CMBM spirit of cultural sensitivity, collaborative interaction, and enhancing professionals’ practices of self-care as they care for others.

I take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge Jim for his inspiration and untiring efforts to contribute to a more harmonious world.