Working Toward Peace By Healing Those on the Ground

This post, by Namrata Mehta Maguire, provides a unique view of a peace effort occuring outside of the diplomatic circles.  Namrata Mehta Maguire is the Director of Finance and Administration for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) has been working in Israel and Gaza implementing its Healing the Wounds of War (HWW) program to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), extreme anxiety and ongoing depression in populations experiencing war and violence.    CMBM has pioneered the use of self-care, mind-body skills and group support to encourage and guide populations who feel helpless in the midst of war to experience and regain their power to help themselves.  Our model not only relieves psychological trauma but it also promotes permanent changes in attitude and behavior, decreasing anger.  It has been our experience that these permanent changes in individuals begins to open the process of building sustainable peace in the region.

We have consistently continued our trainings in the region since 2002 even during troubled and tense times.  In July 2005, one month prior to Israel’s disengagement from settlements in Gaza, CMBM led a training of 100 participants in Gaza City.  Exactly one year later in July 2006 during the Israel/Lebanon and Israel/Palestine wars, CMBM held a training in Israel with 130 participants.  During the current tensions in Gaza, our work continues as local leaders who have been through our training continue to meet and hold mind-body skills groups. 

CMBM staff, faculty and participants enjoy a moment of reflection together after a day of training

We have been fortunate to have both Israelis and Palestinians at our trainings and observed first hand their realizations of how much in common they have with one another and their common desire for peace.  Dr. Jim Gordon, CMBM’s Founder and Director, and a leading expert in Mind-Body Medicine, anticipated participants’ apprehension to work in mixed groups of Palestinians and Israelis. Yet, Dr. Gordon has seen a progression in not only participants’ Mind-Body acumen, but also how these anxieties give way to common ground — the very core of what healing and peace in the Middle East will require.  We are as few groups are during this particularly troubled time, in an excellent position to work jointly with Israelis and Palestinians on issues of peace and reconciliation.

As of October 2006, we have trained the following numbers of professionals and leaders:  200 in Israel and 100 in Gaza across health, mental health and educational organizations.  Our work is supported by both the Israeli and Palestinian governments.  We are actively raising funds to continue and expand our work in the region, healing whole populations, and guiding them towards peace and reconciliation. 

For more information on The Center for Mind-Body Medicine and its groundbreaking Healing the Wounds of War program, please visit our website at www.cmbm.org

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Explore posts in the same categories: Aid, Israel, Middle East Peace, Palestinians, Uncategorized

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