This Practice Wisdom comes from Dr Gabor Mate, speaker, physician and author. He is best known for his expertise on addiction, stress, childhood trauma, and the mind-body connection. During this Coronavirus global lockdown, Gabor is providing guidance on coping with isolation, raising emotional awareness and finding opportunities for growth.
I was super influenced by Gabor when I was working in substance misuse and justice services on being able to listen to where the pain and trauma was for each individual to help understand their behaviour.
In this interview, Gabor touches on social and individual challenges and solutions. He considers that the current higher death rate amongst BME health workers is likely to be from those individuals having a more compromised immune system as a result of being traumatised by existing oppression. In the Keep On Practice Teaching workshop series in April on Supporting BME Students, Dina Sidhva reflected on such multiple disadvantages and on the need for COVID-19 to focus positively on our shared common humanity.
In our next workshop on Wednesday 27th May, Dr Heather Lynch extends this by suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic has not just exposed inequalities in human structures but also in the human relationship with environment and that we must reconsider our relationship with environments that can both sustain and harm human life. To book a space on this workshop, please click here.
Gabor highlights that the global pandemic can a time of opportunity when we are recognising that we are all connected as one unit. Yet what about the real, day-day signs of ‘untogetherness’ and fear - the anxiety which exists at the supermarket, the queues, when some-one comes too close, the judgement if people are perceived not to be following current rules? Gabor reflects that rational fear is an authentic response to a threat and then we can think about how to protect ourselves. Irrational fear tends to be overwhelm, anxiety and panic. He invites these real, daily situations for us all as opportunities to learn how to be with other people under situations of stress and tension.
I find Gabor to have a really warm, reassuring, compassionate, evidence based approach so have a watch if you get a chance! And remember, this is also a time for tremendous human creativity and inventiveness which demonstrates that human security is created by connection!
Take care, Cath 😊