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Lesson One: The Power of Connection & The Myth of Normal

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Lesson One, The Power of Connection, is a fundamental overview of Gabor’s perspective. In this lesson, Gabor speaks broadly on how early childhood traumas, combined with experiences of poverty, discrimination, and other factors influence brain development, and the lens through which we view the world.  As Gabor puts it, “Our mind creates the world, but first, the world creates our mind.”  This is a profoundly important concept to grasp when teaching and sharing Gabor’s work with clients. From Gabor’s perspective, nearly all mental health, most physical health, and all addiction problems stem from the experiences we have that shape our perceptions of the world. 

There is a tremendous amount of material packed into this lesson, and it may be worthwhile to break discussion into two sessions if that is possible.

Nearly all of us who have been touched by addiction have some things in common.  Whether we are a family member or loved one of a person dealing with addiction, or whether we are the one struggling, that last sentence may bring up some unusual feelings. It could be anger. Or fear. Or grief. Or outright rejection. Or something else. Any or all of those are OK.

Learning about addiction and how it affects us makes it easier for us to better understand each other. When we understand each other, it makes it easier to communicate.  And, as we’ll discover together, addiction is in many ways a disorder that, at its root, both causes and is caused by emotional pain, which leads us to feel alone, ashamed, and unhappy.  


When we begin to understand the pain, we can begin to see things in a different way.  We understand each other better. We can talk more clearly with one another. And we can begin to heal the pain. Gabor’s hope, as we work through this series together, is that each of us will come away with some new insights and perhaps some different perspectives. But most of all, a sense of curiosity, and a mind open to possibilities.  When we explore things with the mindset of possibility and curiosity, it’s easier to find common ground, which leads to better understanding of ourselves and our relationships.

Helping the family understand the “why” is, from Gabor’s perspective, crucial. To solve the problem in the long term, the person struggling with the addiction as well as the family have to understand the underlying causes. It’s only when the psychosocial issues are addressed that long-term success in recovery will be achieved. Of course, getting the family on board can be a challenge. Very often, the family is unaware of how their own behaviors and experiences are contributing to the familial dysfunction. 


Taking time with the family to gain their understanding and trust in the process will significantly improve outcomes for the client. We will revisit this issue in multiple lessons, but the earlier the family is engaged and on board, the more effective treatment will be.

When helping others, the first question we should be asking is not “What to do” but “Why is this happening.”   

In the video, Gabor talks about the huge increase in mental health diagnoses: anxiety, depression, ADHD, as well as increases in addiction. He explains why genetic factors don’t make much sense, because genes don’t change that drastically over the course of a few decades.  Knowing “why” makes it a lot easier to understand and solve these problems, whether they are within ourselves or those we love and care about.