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Dr. James S. Gordon

Dr. James S. Gordon, Center for Mind Body Medicine founder and executive director will lead a program on healing from trauma Nov. 21 in Yountville.

The recent Public Safety Power Shutdowns, smoky air, and evacuation warning for Calistoga remind us that we are one spark and one windstorm away from wildfire danger. The jolt felt on Oct. 15 from the Pleasant Hill earthquake also reminds us we could have another “big one” at any time.

How to heal from triggers and traumas caused by natural disasters and other causes is the topic of afternoon and evening programs at Lincoln Theater Yountville on Thursday, Nov. 21 by the Center for Mind Body Medicine, (CMBM) featuring its founder and Executive Director, Dr. James S. Gordon.

CMBM is an internationally acclaimed, 28-year-old program that has trained thousands of people around the world to help communities heal from trauma caused by natural disasters and violence. Its evidence-based Mind-Body Skills Groups are used in 30 veterans’ programs in the U.S. to treat PTSD, as well as in communities recovering from mass shootings — Parkland, Fla., Las Vegas Nev., and Sandy Hook, Conn., for example.

CMBM programs are already the program of choice in use in Sonoma, Shasta, Trinity, Butte, and Siskiyou counties, to heal trauma from wildfires. Therefore, it is worthwhile for Napa County communities to understand what these programs could offer us as we navigate a virtually all year fire season and resulting triggers for our stress levels for the foreseeable future.

The Nov. 21 afternoon program “Napa Valley Resilience Workshop: Moving Through and Beyond Trauma” will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. free of charge. Community members are invited to join service providers and community leaders in attending this workshop. Participants will receive a free copy of Dr. Gordon's new book, "The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma." A shorter program, "An Evening with Dr. James S. Gordon," will be held on the same day at 7 p.m. and will cost $10 for adults, with free admission for students. VIP tickets will be available for $25 and include a copy of his book and a wine reception with the author. Funds raised will support continued CMBM programs. A limited quantity of free tickets will be available to ensure the evening program is broadly inclusive. Both programs will include Spanish translation. Program details can be found at lincolntheater.com. Pre-registration is required for both programs.

CMBM has trained over 200 people in Sonoma County so far to co-facilitate groups to spread this healing model throughout their county. I participated in CMBM's “train the trainer” programs this summer hosted by the Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative and was impressed and deeply affected by the work there.

CMBM programs in communities are cost effective, easy to learn and teach to others, preventative and therapeutic, grounded in psychobiology and not dependent on medication. They also build community, fostering inclusion for marginalized or isolated community members and bring diverse residents closer together.

As Dr. Gordon will explain, trauma comes to everyone, in some form, over our lifetimes. “The good news is that all of us can use tools of self-awareness and self-care to heal our trauma and indeed, to become healthier and more whole than we have ever been.”

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at alterstarr@gmail.com or 707-480-7436.

These programs are hosted by Lincoln Theater, the Napa Valley Resilience Group, the Napa County Office of Education and Napa County SELPA, with funded provided by Resilient Napa. Additional funding for the workshop is provided by Yountville Kiwanis Club.

For all these reasons, I hope you will attend the programs on Nov. 21.  

Debbie Alter-Starr MSW, LCSW

Event Coordinator

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