Front cover of The Transformation by Dr. James Gordon

THE TRANSFORMATION: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma

James S. Gordon, M.D.

[HarperOne, 384 pages]

The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma by Dr. James Gordon is a self-help book that guides the reader to discover their wholeness by developing ways to heal after trauma, regardless of how severe it was or how long ago it occurred.

Gordon’s mind-body medicine methods and techniques draw upon the ancient wisdom of the earliest shamans, healers and spiritual guides from around the world and from multiple faiths.

Dr. Gordon is a world-renowned expert when it comes to using alternative medicine to treat depression, anxiety, chronic illnesses and psychological trauma. Harvard-educated, he is the founder and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, as well as a clinical professor at Georgetown University’s medical school.

He has helped thousands of people around the world, including those in war zones, those dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters and those traumatized by domestic neglect, abandonment or violence.

From suffering to serenity

The techniques that the world’s oldest shamans and healers used for mending the pain caused by psychological (and physical) trauma were based on the timeless knowledge that from suffering, comes wisdom and compassion.

When we acknowledge the pain that trauma inflicts, and the chaos it causes, we can benefit from these age-old techniques and thereby become more loving and compassionate towards ourselves and others.

Healing is possible for even the most traumatized of people, whether their trauma occurred recently or in the distant past. Spiritual, physical and emotional distress are intertwined, but treating the core cause of our trauma through natural approaches can actually reverse biological and psychological damage, leading to a marked improvement in overall health and well-being.

Breathing for well-being

Woman sitting on bench with closed eyes

One of Dr. Gordon’s main tools to calm the mind and allow it to deal with the trauma that entraps it is what he refers to as Soft Belly Breathing. With this simple technique of breathing deeply and calmly from the belly, we can quiet the internal noise of conflict.

From this place, we can use drawing and journaling, as well as other tools, to acknowledge our fear of the past and our present state. We can then discover our meaning and purpose through the contemplation of our desired future outcomes.

Dr. Gordon also outlines other techniques we might use to pull ourselves out of the tension, frustration and pain that trauma has burdened us with. These include Dancing and Shaking, Chaotic Breathing and accessing our inner guides. By using these techniques, we can suss out the darkness and fear that trauma has pushed into the deepest regions of our being.

Although some people Dr. Gordon has treated have been skeptical of these methods before giving them a try, they have often found them to be immediately helpful in more ways than they could’ve imagined.

Connection at its core

Of crucial importance, throughout our journey from chaos into serenity, is connection. If we isolate ourselves as a result of trauma, we become caught in its web indefinitely. By sharing our thoughts and feelings with trusted confidantes and other people who have suffered trauma, we remind ourselves that we’re worthy and are not alone in our suffering.

When we’re traumatized, the need for connection is reawakened, heightened. Remember that our first biologically programmed response to trauma is to reach out and scan the world around us for support and comfort. When that urge is temporarily overwhelmed by the agitation of fight or flight, or the numbing and withdrawal of freezing, it doesn’t go away. It becomes even more compelling.Dr. James Gordon, The Transformation

Maintaining a healthy life

Two people walking outdoors in mist

Of importance in our daily lives is the consistent use of Dr. Gordon’s techniques, as well as a healthy diet and regular exercise, which Dr. Gordon also writes about.

Above all, he posits that being patient and compassionate with ourselves is part of the journey. Taking the time for self-care on a daily basis will give us the space, time and outlets we need to maintain the physical and psychological healing that his techniques can provide.

The power of ancient wisdom

Although Dr. Gordon offers up quite a lot of scientific, research-based evidence to prove the effectiveness of his techniques, measures of modern medicine aren’t needed to reinforce their value.

Having myself employed some of the techniques that he outlines in The Transformation, I have felt their immediate effects. I’ve also felt their ability to help me move forward past the feelings of imprisonment that past trauma has caused, and into a present sense of self and the hope for a better future.

I highly recommend Dr. Gordon’s book, The Transformation, to anyone who has suffered the effects of trauma at some point in their life. His techniques and insights can be applied to virtually any situation, which is a good reminder that none of us are alone in this journey—we are all connected.

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