Healing from Trauma (Seven!)

If you don’t know how to say NO your YESSES don’t mean a thing” – Dr. Gabor Mate

Yesterday I had the privilege of going to a day-long seminar taught by Dr. Gabor Mate. The topic was ”When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease connection.” (He has written a book with the title of the same name). When I first read an article by Mate about seven years ago I was skeptical; now I find his logic and research difficult to deny.

When trauma occurs in a person’s life – especially early childhood trauma — it results in:

  • disconnection from self
  • impaired ability to relate to others – seeing them as a threat, or enmeshed with them
  • loss of midfrontal cortex which provides
    • attuned communication
    • empathy
    • regulation of body
    • response flexibility
  • rewiring of nervous system so that the traumatized person is far more reactive
  • shapes our view of the world (the stories we form)

So for those of you who have been stepping into the improv world know – this list of things (or the opposite of them) is what Improv addresses!

This summer I had the opportunity to go to a week long training provided by the Trauma Center’s Summer Institute in Cape Cod. One whole day was devoted to training on the Trauma Drama program in Boston. Improv for traumatized youth. Currently a woman named Mimi Sullivan is doing her PhD dissertation on the outcomes for youth coming through the Trauma Drama program. It was an incredible training, and I hope to create some flavor of this here locally.

If you want to be inspired – watch the 3 or 6 min video – on the Trauma Drama website.

Let’s say YES to those who haven’t had space to say NO.


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