In-Depth Course Summary
Healing Trauma and Addiction is a very thorough course that covers many different ideas concerning society, human development, addiction, generational trauma, and healing techniques. If you want an at-a-glance look at some of the most important points Gabor covers in the course, you can use this outline as a reference. While watching each lesson and reading the corresponding course material, you can also take notes using the notepad feature in the bottom right corner of the screen.
You can skip this summary if you just want to get straight to the course. We recommend watching each lesson in order, reading the course material, and taking notes if necessary. After the final lesson, there will be a quiz that reflects the learning objectives of the course. We hope you find your Healing Trauma and Addiction experience valuable. Thank you -Wholehearted team
Lesson One: The Power of Connection
This lesson serves as an overview of Gabor’s most impactful ideas on society. It answers the question, why the increase in addiction and disease in the modern age?
The Rising Epidemic of Addiction
- Statistically, addiction has been on the rise in recent decades, as have cases of many conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, autism, and autoimmune diseases.
The Mind-Body Connection
- The Mind-Body Connection is the well-backed concept that the mind is inseparable from the body. Your mental and physical health are one and the same, and most importantly, prolonged stress can actually cause illnesses to develop.
- Why All The Stress?
- We are seeing increased rates of disease and addiction because of an increase in societal stress. Factors increasing societal stress include rapid technological advancement, overreliance on certain drugs, ease of access to harmful substances, and most importantly, a lack of interpersonal connection.
How Today’s Society Fails to Meet Our Needs
- Human beings evolved to be accustomed to a very different society than we live in today. Today’s society fails to meet our evolutionary needs in several major ways. Perhaps the most impactful way is the fact that babies are no longer receiving the type of interpersonal connection that is ideal for healthy brain development.
The Social Component of Stress and Illness
- Gabor points out that any time a group of people has higher rates of certain conditions, it is a reflection of something in the culture. For example, African Americans have higher rates of asthma than other ethnic groups, regardless of access to medical care. This reflects the fact that our society creates a heightened state of stress for African Americans.
Looking at the Big Picture
- Gabor believes the Western medical mind should embrace a trauma-informed view of treatment. Doctors should acknowledge the mind-body connection, and we should embrace our innate capacity as human beings to heal ourselves.
Lesson Two: A New Look at Addiction
This lesson looks more closely at addiction and the most effective ways to communicate about it.
Our Tendency to Blame
- In our journey to heal ourselves or others, it is important to let go of our inherent tendency to blame. Do not blame yourself or others for your problems, simply acknowledge the problem and work toward solving it.
Listening Without an Agenda
- Similarly to letting go of blame, we must also listen to others without an agenda if we hope to move forward. Try to understand the other person’s point of view, and don’t stop listening to formulate your own response before the other person is done talking.
The Role of Shame
- Shame only serves as a barrier to self-examination and true progress. No one chooses to be addicted, so do your best to let go of shame when trying to heal an addiction.
A New Perspective on Addiction
- Addiction is a desperate attempt to escape from suffering. Unresolved trauma imposes a lifelong pain, which is why addressing someone’s trauma can heal the pain they are trying to soothe through their addiction, thereby healing the addiction itself.
- The Genetic Component
- Someone can be at genetically high risk for addiction, but genetics alone cannot cause an addiction.
Lesson Three: Exploring Our Trauma
Trauma is at the root of addiction. This is a hugely important takeaway from this course. This lesson takes a closer look at trauma and how it can affect us.
- Trauma is not what happens to us, it’s what happens inside of us as a result of what happens to us.
- Trauma does not have to mean something terrible happening to you. It can also mean something good that should have happened not happening.
- Something can constitute trauma even if it does not seem traumatic to others.
The Seven Impacts of Trauma
- 1. Disconnection from yourself
- 2. Disconnection from others
- 3. Negative distortion of world view
- 4. Lifelong pain
- 5. Inhibited brain development
- 6. Shame-based view of yourself
- 7. Difficulty being in present moment
The Role of Connection in Mitigating the Effects of Trauma
- Having a sympathetic witness to discuss your problems with will greatly decrease the long-term effects of trauma.
- Without a sympathetic witness, prolonged trauma can cause mental illness, physical illness, or addiction.
Lesson Four: Understanding Generational Trauma
How Multigenerational Trauma Happens
- People can very easily pass on their childhood trauma to their own kids, subconsciously. It’s no one’s fault; it’s what anyone who has not addressed their trauma is likely to do.
The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Studies
- Studies have shown that the more adverse childhood experiences someone has had, the greater their risk for addiction. There are 10 adverse childhood experiences:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical neglect
- Emotional neglect
- Mental illness or addiction in the family
- Incarcerated relative
- Death of a relative
- Witnessing violence in the family
- Witnessing parents’ divorce
- Attunement is safe genuine interpersonal connection, and it is necessary for the healthy development of a child’s brain.
Blame vs. Responsibility
- Our society confuses blame with responsibility. Every person in a family should take responsibility for their role in an addiction, without blaming themselves or the addict.
Lesson Five: Beyond Codependency & Victimhood
- Codependency is putting the needs of others above your own needs. IF you rely on the validation of others to feel good about yourself, then that validation will never come. Understand that you are worthy of love regardless of what others may think.
- Pay attention to what triggers you, because it will show you what unresolved issues you need to work through.
Victimization vs. Victimhood
- Don’t allow yourself to be defined as a victim, and you will take the power back from your victimizer.
Lesson Six: Addiction – A Disease or Developmental Condition?
Analysis of ADHD
- ADHD is characterized by a high tendency to tune out from the present situation. This is usually a result of “tuning out” being used as a coping mechanism during early childhood when situations became too stressful to bear. Now the brain is programmed to tune out even when there is no need to.
The Role of Hormones in Addiction
- Dopamine and endorphins are hormones in the brain that are responsible for happiness, pleasure, motivation, and reward. Addicts are addicted to the dopamine and hormones that get released when they partake in their drug or behavior of choice.
- For many addicts, their brains developed to release lower-than-normal levels of dopamine and serotonin, and higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This is why they are more likely to develop a dependency on drugs, which artificially release the hormones that cause feelings of reward.
Brain Development & Stress
- If a human brain experiences high levels of stress for long periods of time during the early developmental years, then it will develop poor stress regulation. This can particularly happen in utero and the first five years of life.
- A lack of ability to self-soothe means a higher risk for addiction.
Lesson Seven: Ending the Cycle of Addiction
Conditions that Help End Generational Trauma
- The conditions that can help a person gain back mood regulation are the very conditions that should have been there in the first place but weren’t.
- Emotional connection
- Lack of judgment
- Seeing the person for who they really are
- Healthy food
- Regular exercise
- Time outdoors
- Time socializing
- Addressing past traumas
Lesson Eight: The Cure to Addiction
Everyone Has the Capacity to Heal
- Recognize that addiction is not a choice, and the addict is not to blame. Someone will have a much higher likelihood of healing the internal pain that is causing their addiction if they feel acceptance and a lack of judgment from those closest to them.
- Any attempt to control someone will inherently be met with resistance. You cannot force someone into treatment. Instead, help them understand why treatment is the best option for them, and let them come to their own conclusions.
When is Someone Ready for Treatment?
- Someone will only be ready to enter treatment if they are tired of the consequences, have a sense of possibility, and see a pathway to change.
Approaches to Treatment
- Healing trauma through body movement-based modalities
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming)
- IFS (Internal Family Systems)
- Somatic Experiencing
- Sensory-Motor Psychotherapy
- Trauma-Informed Yoga
- Mindfulness practices
A Closing Note