Thursday, 27 October 2011

Phenomenal Insight into the Mind-Body Connection... from an MD!

Just got back from a whirlwind four days in Toronto at the 13th annual Energy Psychology Conference, an event that brings together some incredibly gifted healers from across North America and around the world.

Aside from putting on a workshop on Advanced Bodywork at the conference, I was also privileged to share the stage as one of the three keynote speakers, along with Dr. Gabor Maté and Lynn McTaggart.  While circumstances prevented me from attending Lynn's talk, I did get to Gabor's and it was SUPER. 

(My own keynote was called Hacking Perfection: 7 Secrets for Making Yourself and Your Clients Healthier, Happier and Hardier Than You Ever Thought Possible.  I'll be sharing its contents with you later.  The good news is that it was a big hit.  Now, though, I'd like to focus on Dr. Maté's keynote...)

If you're unfamiliar with the work of Dr. Gabor Maté, you might want to take a look at it - he has some valuable insights for you in the realm of human resilience...

You can watch an interview with him here:

I read one of his books a few years ago, called When the Body Says No!.  It's a great book demonstrating not simply the undeniable link between mind and body, but specifically how repressed emotion manifests as malignancy.  Not great news for a culture that chronically suppresses emotion ;-)

(Note: this is the cover for the US edition.  The Canadian cover differs.)

Dr. Maté made three main points about contemporary Western medicine:

1. It separates the mind from the body

2. It separates the person from his/her environment, including relationships

3. It doesn't recognize the body's innate healing capacity

He went on to say that because we evaluate people by their behavior, appearance and circumstances, we tend to identify our SELF as the combination of these things or, to put it another way, we tend to identify our SELF with our personality.  However, the personality is an "imposter", in his words, and the real task of any true healer is simply to help people to see themselves clearly and accurately.

With many years of experience in the medical field, Dr. Maté asserts that cancers and many other serious illnesses, as well as addictions, are usually attempts to avoid feeling the uncomfortable.  This existential stance of refusing to face uncomfortable emotional energies puts your whole being in a defensive mode; however, the cells of the body cannot be in growth mode and defensive mode at the same time.  The former promotes life, the latter death.

Since our personality is so busy trying to avoid reality, it ends up refusing to see the truth and plunging the whole organism into dysfunction and illness.  The real task of the healer is to hold a space of compassion that will allow the client to face his/her inner world so as to transform it.  All of this, he said, is not particularly easy in a society that blocks healthy aggression and persistently sends us the message that maintaining our relationships requires us to betray our own authenticity.

The title of his address, The Archeology of Silence, underlines how essential it is for the healer to pay attention to and perceive the client's non-verbal communications because they contain vital clues about what's really going on. 

While I don't claim this summary does justice to his presentation, I do believe that all of us can benefit enormously from Dr. Maté's work.  So put this guy on your reading list ;-)

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 

1 comment:

  1. Great post dude! Thanks for the share. Lovely to find your blog.

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