Francesca Maximé – ReRooted – Ep. 54 – What Happened to You? with Dr. Bruce Perry (Pt. 1)

Dr. Bruce Perry rejoins Francesca to share on trauma, resilience, and healing, power dynamics and the collective, as well as the stress response and shutting down.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy a Community of Practice based in Houston, TX, and Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. He recently authored, along with Oprah Winfrey, the new book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing. Over the last thirty years, Dr. Perry has been an active teacher, clinician, and researcher in children’s mental health and neuroscience. You can find more information at

“Awareness is part of the primary process that will lead to change.” – Dr. Bruce Perry

What Happened to You?

Welcoming back Dr. Bruce Perry to the ReRooted podcast for the first-half of a riveting two-part conversation, a delighted Francesca invites him to share on core themes of the new book he just wrote alongside Oprah Winfrey, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and HealingMarking the foundations of trauma work created through the diligence of Sandy Bloom, Dr. Perry shares the history and evolution of trauma, resilience, and healing, in regards to race, misogyny, and education systems.

“If every few generations we make tiny little tweaks, you haven’t really changed education. All you’ve done is maintained the existing power structure; you just redecorated it. You have the same house; it’s just got different furniture. When people talk about systemic racism or misogyny – both exist in our public education system. If you get so defensive that you don’t see that clearly, you’ll end up missing a tremendous opportunity to make meaningful change in your systems.” – Dr. Bruce Perry

Learn to get in touch with your nervous system and start to heal through resilience, on, Ep. 106 of the Indie Spiritualist
Power Dynamics & The Collective (11:08)

How do we begin to transform the culture? How can we start to transform ourselves from the inside out? How do we recognize power dynamics at play throughout history and change them now? Inviting in the micro, macro, and mezzo perspectives, Francesca asks Dr. Perry to illuminate historical power dynamics through the lens of U.S. colonization, oppression, and marginalization.

“Oppression flows down. It’s an unfortunate characteristic of the human species, that we tend to cluster and create an ‘us & them.’ And so, in the consolidation of power for yourself, it’s always in your interest to have an external marginalized people to basically coalesce your power. That model of gaining power is marginalizing others.” – Dr. Bruce Perry

Join a conversation on the power dynamics of philanthropy, race, money, and relationships, on, Ep. 8 of the Brown Rice Hour
Stress Response & Shutting Down (17:42)

Speaking to the notion that many humans will naturally exhibit a stress response in the brain when confronted with other people with unfamiliar attributes, Dr. Perry explains how this shutting down of the neocortex makes individuals less open to change and connectivity; and more susceptible to fall into concrete thinking and accepting oversimplified explanations.

“Historically, the major predator of human beings has always been other humans. So when you meet people who are not like you, or have unfamiliar attributes, the default response is to shut down—activate the stress response which will shut down part of your cortex. So instead of becoming more abstract, inclusive, and thoughtful, you become more concrete, categorial, and vulnerable to simple, linear explanations.” – Dr. Bruce Perry

For more Francesca with Dr. Bruce Perry discussing the physiology of belonging, tune into, Ep. 38 of ReRooted

What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by [Oprah Winfrey, Bruce D. Perry]    The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook -- What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing by [Bruce D Perry, Maia Szalavitz]    Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential--and Endangered by [Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz]