James Gordon, M.D., Dean of Saybrook University’s College of Mind-Body Medicine, has announced that he will launch a training effort for over 300 health and mental health professionals, community leaders, and educators in Gaza City.
This training in Mind-Body Medicine techniques is designed to help address the overwhelming mental health needs of children in the Palestinian territories.
The trainings will be provided by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, which Dr. Gordon founded and directs.
The training program focuses on psychological self-care, community building, and spiritual renewal. Participants will bring what they learn personally and professionally back to the communities they serve to create a sustainable system of psychological self-care and support, and to help alleviate the posttraumatic stress disorder, stress, depression and anxiety that plague Gaza’s children and youth.
During this visit, Dr. Gordon and his CMBM team will meet with their local Israeli and Palestinian leadership teams, including CMBM-trained clinicians and educators, and visit some of the 160 ongoing groups practicing self-care techniques of mind-body medicine.
Dr. Gordon, who is Jewish, and his team of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, have regularly visited the Gaza Strip since 2002. They have trained over 240 Palestinian clinicians and educators in the CMBM model of self-awareness & self-care through mind-body medicine (meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, yoga); self-expression in words, drawings and movement; and small group support. These professionals have provided effective, scientifically validated interventions to over 35,000 children & adults in Gaza.
CMBM will soon publish research on the effectiveness of its model with 500 Palestinian youth. Those diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who participated in the CMBM program demonstrated improvements of 80% in PTSD symptoms, gains maintained at 6-months follow-up in spite of ongoing conflict and economic hardship. This study confirms results from a randomized controlled trial of CMBM’s model’s effectiveness with war- traumatized youth in Kosovo, published in 2008 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
In a time when there is little if any communication between Israelis and Palestinians, Dr. Gordon’s team has developed parallel programs in both locations and fostered collaborative working relationships between their leadership . In addition to the 240 Palestinians, he and his colleagues have trained some 400 physicians, psychologists, social workers, military, and police in Israel, as well as the Zaka, the Orthodox men who gather the body parts of victims of violence and inform their families of their death.
Through CMBM, Dr. Gordon has created pioneering programs of comprehensive mind-body healing for US physicians, medical students, and other health professionals; for people with cancer, depression and other chronic illnesses; and for traumatized children and families in post-earthquake Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel and Gaza, in post-9/11 New York and post-Katrina southern Louisiana, and for U.S Military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
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