By Rachel Moore, LMFT
I was recently invited along with a few dozen other mental health clinicians to a small, salon-style discussion with author Gabor Maté. When I had the opportunity to ask him a question that night, he told me I was wrong. And I’m glad he did.
If you’re not familiar with Maté, he is a renowned Hungarian-Canadian physician who specializes in neurology, psychiatry, psychology, and addiction. His basic premise is the mind and the body are inseparable. Maté’s books include “When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection” and “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.”
Maté is also a Holocaust survivor, and he focuses on the effects of early childhood trauma in disease and addiction. In one interview, he said: “There are genetic predispositions to addictions, but they don’t cause addiction by themselves; they just increase the risk. In both animal and human studies subjects don’t become addicted if they receive the proper nurturing, even in the presence of predisposing genes.”
I was recently preparing for an uncomfortable conversation when a spontaneous thought came to mind: How old do I want to be in this discussion? It hadn't occurred to me before that rather than reacting out of fear and from an adolescent (or earlier) instinct, I could choose to use every year of my well-earned experience. And it WAS a choice. If I wanted to speak from a child's perspective I could do that. I also had the option of approaching the situation with the wisdom of an adult. In this particular case I chose the latter. And that, as they say, made all the difference.
Are you ready to take a look at your habits and how they may or may not be serving you? Contact Rachel Moore, LMFT, for a free 15-minute chat to see how I can best help you.
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy in San Diego, CA. Rachel helps writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types overcome anxiety and trauma. She is certified in EMDR therapy and also trained in Brainspotting.