The Sandy Hook mass murders, the Boston Marathon bombing, the epidemic of PTSD among veterans, and the prevalence of spousal and child abuse are only a few instances of the degree to which American society is now permeated by extreme violence that leaves trauma in its wake. More and more Americans have either survived such violence themselves or have survived the equally traumatic loss of friends, neighbors, or loved ones to violent death.
Because we believe that Buddhism has a unique contribution to make in promoting resilience and healing for individuals and communities that have suffered trauma, KTD will offer a program titled “Mindfulness: A path to Mental Health and Recovery from Trauma” on the weekend of June 14-16.
The program will explore the relationship between Buddhist teachings about the healing power of compassion and Western psychological approaches to healing from trauma. Teachings, dialogue, and opportunities for creative expression will all be part of the weekend.
The featured teachers are ideally suited to combining Western psychology with Buddhist principles and practice. Lama Tsultrim Yeshe (John Samuelson) is the resident lama at the Hay River, Wisconsin KTC, a fully ordained monk, and a retired prison chaplain. James L. Knoll IV, MD, a Zen practitioner, is Director of Forensic Psychiatry and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.
Experiential sessions devoted to the role of creativity in resilience and healing will be led by two Tibetan Buddhist practitioners with backgrounds in psychotherapy. Trish Malone, M.A., LCSW-R is a psychotherapist and clinical social worker; she has worked intensively with crime victims and children in therapeutic foster care. Kell Julliard, MA, is Assistant Vice President for Clinical Research at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY; holding a masters degree in Expressive Therapy from the University of Louisville, he has a clinical background as a psychotherapist.
The facilitator for the program will be David Kaczynski, Executive Director of KTD. David is the brother of Theodore Kaczynski, the so-called “Unabomber;” he formerly served as Executive Director of New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Mindfulness: A Path to Mental Health and Recovery from Trauma is an outgrowth of conversations that David had with other KTD staff following the mass murders at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown, CT. In those conversations, David developed the idea that trauma is now so prevalent in American society that it must be approached as a public mental health emergency–an emergency to which Buddhists must respond with the best spiritual resources we have to offer. KTD’s June 14-16 program is part of our ongoing response; we invite all who have been touched by or are simply concerned about this emergency to attend.