Francesca Maximé welcomes Ruth Lanius for a conversation about how racialized trauma lives in the body and can ultimately lead to a lesser sense of self.
Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, is the director of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research unit at the University of Western Ontario. She established the Traumatic Stress Service and the Traumatic Stress Service Workplace Program, services that specialize in the treatment and research of PTSD and related comorbid disorders. She has written more than 100 published papers and chapters in the field of traumatic stress and is an author of the book, Healing the Traumatized Self.
Racialized Trauma in the Body
Francesca and Ruth begin with a conversation around how racialized trauma lives in the body, and how the inescapable stress can basically shut down a traumatized person’s system. They talk about the effects of trauma from an intergenerational viewpoint, and how chronic trauma ultimately can lead to a lesser sense of self.
“I think we see this large intergenerational transmission of trauma, and we really need to think about the mechanisms and how we can intervene at an individual and at a community level.” – Ruth Lanius
Raghu Markus and James Gordon, MD, talk about transforming trauma on Mindrolling Ep. 336
Community Healing (17:00)
The conversation turns to how the system of white supremacy and racialized trauma affects white people. Francesca asks Ruth how she addresses issues of racialized trauma with her patients. Ruth explains some of the basic brain function around PTSD, how it affects the sense of self, and the importance of community as a place of healing.
“Being in a community gives you a feeling of a sense of belonging, which is so critical. If you don’t feel like you belong, that’s an incredible, painful, intense feeling.” – Ruth Lanius
Mindfulness and Trauma (35:10)
Francesca and Ruth discuss what a reparative multiracial community might look like, and how we can do healing work within a system that is set up for division. They talk about the impact of mindfulness practice on trauma, and how there can be a rebirth of the sense of self.
“I think that hope is so critical for change. There’s nothing worse than going to see somebody and them telling you, ‘Well, you’re a hopeless case, you’ll never get better.’ That’s a really toxic place to start from. But to have hope and to know that the brain is very malleable and that it can change through good treatment, I think is really important.” – Ruth Lanius
Images via ISNR and @thatoseabi on Twenty20