As the founder and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, Dr. James Gordon focuses much of his time on alternative medicine. Dr. Oz and his wife, Lisa, talk with Dr. Gordon about the philosophy behind his work and about how alternative medicine can help people deal with trauma.
Dr. Gordon says one of the best ways to deal with traumatic situations is to talk about them—to reestablish the connections between the things people see and their ability to talk about them. "We teach people about stress and anxiety, and then we teach them how to deal with it through drawings and written exercises using guided imagery," he says. "This uses all parts of their brains, and we think that may be one of the reasons they do so much better in dealing with trauma."
Dr. Gordon and his staff at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine teach simple meditation techniques while working in small groups. Together, the people in the group learn a variety of techniques to help them deal with stress and to use their imaginations to find solutions to problems that seem unsolvable, Dr. Gordon says. "We use pictures so that people can come up with solutions to problems and they have the experience of learning about themselves, learning to take care of themselves, learning to open up and learning to move their bodies so that people can free themselves in the body as well as the mind."
Dr. Gordon says once the healing process begins, people are able to embrace the emotions of the experience they went through, therefore allowing themselves to realize they can do something to change how they are feeling. "As one starts to heal physiological trauma, one starts to have the opportunity to talk about their pain and their rage," Dr. Gordon says. "After a while, as the rage and despair comes out, over time they begin to use simple mind-body techniques—breathing, meditations, imagery—and they begin to see the world differently and begin to realize that they can do something to help themselves."