Healthcare Professionals Train on the Front Lines of Trauma as War Spreads in the Middle East

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Dr. James Gordon, founder and director of The Center For Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) and former chair of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Policy, led the Healing the Wounds of War (HWW)team to Israel as the conflict escalated in Gaza and erupted in the North of Israel and Lebanon. Their mission: to continue training health and mental health professionals to heal psychological trauma on a population-wide level, using psychological self-care, mind-body medicine and group support. The challenge: to train these physicians, psychologists and educators in the midst of conflict and to work jointly with Israelis and Palestinians.

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training thousands to heal millions.

CMBM’s HWW team arrived in Israel on July 9th, delighted to rejoin the Israeli Leadership team and to work with them to train 130 mental health, health and education professionals, in the use of Mind-Body approaches to heal psychological trauma and reduce stress .For the first time they would work with a mixed group of Israelis and Palestinians -- and at a time when the escalating conflict in Gaza was likely to inflame passions and provoke confrontation.

As science, including CMBM’s own research continues to support the effectiveness of Mind-Body Medicine and holism moves into mainstream medical practice, more healthcare practitioners seek to integrate Mind-Body techniques into their work. In the CMBM training Israeli and Palestinian participants practiced using meditation, guided imagery, written exercises, yoga, movement and drawings to help them deal with the trauma and tension of the ongoing conflict with their fears of one another as well as with challenges at work and in their personal lives.

James S. Gordon, M.D., CMBM’s Founder and Director, and a leading expert in Mind-Body Medicine, anticipated his trainees and the Leadership Team’s apprehension at participating in mixed groups. He was, however, delighted not only with the way they learned and used these techniques but by how the training enhanced mutual understanding and compassion—qualities in short supply in the last two months in the Middle East.

The HWW team also presented an introductory day long workshop in the West Bank for 90 Palestinians and laid the ground work for continuing its highly successful effort in Gaza where 90 trainees are implementing, under the guidance of a Palestinian Leadership Team, the CMBM approach in virtually every major government and non government mental health organization.

In the months ahead, CMBM plans to extend its program into the devastated Northern region of Israel, to offer additional large scale trainings in Gaza and to develop significant joint Israeli-Palestinian program -- “training thousands to heal millions.”

The Center for Mind-Body Medicine is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to reviving the spirit and transforming the practice of medicine. The Center is working to create a more effective, comprehensive, and compassionate model of healthcare and health education. The Center’s model combines the precision of modern science with the wisdom of the world’s healing traditions, to help health professionals heal themselves, their patients, and their communities.

For more information, or to find out how you can support CMBM’s mission, please contact:

Namrata Mehta, Director of Public Relations, The Center For Mind-Body Medicine, (202) 966-7338

http://www.cmbm.org

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