In our second guest blog, Dr Charlie Orton, Chief Executive of UK SMART Recovery; a UK based addiction recovery charity talks about her top three take-aways from the In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts conversation between trauma therapist Vivian McKinnon and Dr Gabor Mate. Mate is a world leading expert on childhood trauma and addiction.
When Viv contacted me to ask if I could advertise this event on UK SMART’s social media channels, I not only agreed but got excited about it too. I was taken aback at the prospect of hearing insights from Dr Mate in such an up close and personal manner.
A really rare and valuable encounter!
I was fully aware of Dr Mate’s work around trauma and the many effects it has on the body and mind but I had never attended an event with him present or heard him talk directly.
My team support the delivery of a secular alternative addiction recovery programme and whilst it is based on CBT and motivational interviewing, it does recognize the emergence of a more conscious movement towards trauma informed care.
My team supports the delivery of a secular alternative addiction recovery programme and whilst it is based on CBT and motivational interviewing, it does recognize the emergence of a more conscious movement towards
trauma informed care.
For example, there is an emergence; an increasing use of mindfulness in mutual aid groups. I saw this as a great opportunity for ongoing professional development and offered each of my staff a ticket.
On the evening of the webinar, there were six of us from UK SMART in an audience of about 60 people.
Following a brief introduction from Vivian, a conversation naturally emerged with Gabor explaining where the idea for his book came from and how the title came about.
Some of us in the audience were lucky enough to be selected to ask Gabor a question and this formed the basis of the rest of the event.
We asked him questions, he responded, even providing some individuals with personal guidance through his method of compassionate enquiry.
The session took us all on a deep and meaningful journey. You could almost hear the penny drop for some and transformation took place right before our eyes!
I asked a question about the dichotomy between the very practical use of CBT/MI type tools for recovery and the approaches that use mediation, deep thought spiritual enquiry, mindfulness, yoga, and dharma.
I wanted to know whether these approaches activate different areas or pathways in the brain and how they oppose or complement each other. It helped me to understand better why there is no single way to recover from addiction and why one size doesn’t fit all.
The time went quickly, very quickly. We could have sat there all night in deep conversation and debate.
To converse with Gabor, hear about other people’s perspectives and lived experience in such a personal almost one-to-one circumstance was both amazing and inspirational. It was the best evening I’ve spent at my computer in a long time.
Three things I took away from the event were:Trauma effects the mind and body and is a result of traumatic lived experiences not only from one’s own conscious life but from generations of traumatic events experienced by a family.A change in my perspective of a trigger or triggers. The word comes from weaponry and the trigger is only a small mechanical part of a gun. What it sets off is the stored ammunition and explosives that are within it. Using this analogy, we can separate the trigger from the ammo and work on both through different methods in order to heal.You can’t make the damage that is caused by addiction worse by talking about it, even if talking about the damage and trauma it causes loved ones.
So, thank you Viv for the gift of this webinar and thank you to Dr Gabor Mate for spending his time with us and the insights it gave.
Dr Charlie Orton Ph.D UK SMART