CMF incarcerated learn about childhood trauma

Two CMF inmates hold a book called "The Body Keeps the Score."
Mentors from a youth diversion program at CMF are studying the book "The Body Keeps the Score." They also took part in a lecture with the author.

Incarcerated California Medical Facility (CMF) youth mentors recently learned about childhood trauma during a lecture with a bestselling author.

UNITY (Understanding, Nurturing, Inspiring the Youth), a youth diversion program at CMF, featured a lecture with author and trauma researcher Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk.

Van der Kolk is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Body Keeps the Score.” The book looks at how brain science, attachment research and body awareness can be turned into treatments. According to the author, these treatments “directly counteract the helplessness and invisibility associated with trauma, enabling adults and children to reclaim ownership of their bodies and lives.”

The youth mentors have been reading the book to better understand themselves as well as those they mentor.

“(The lecture) afforded me the opportunity to be exposed to transformative information. This will profoundly impact the life of the youth I mentor as well as myself,” said one participant. “My body has kept the score for the past 43 years of my life. I did not realize how much trauma that I experienced because I normalized it. The community I was raised in taught me to normalize it. As a child, I had a right to feel secure.”

Another youth mentor was also impressed with the lecture.

“We all suffer from various forms of trauma,” the mentor said. “The more I learn and understand my own traumas, the better equipped I am to help the young people.”

The UNITY program seeks to prevent youth from entering the correctional system.

Learn more about Dr. Van der Kolk.

Submitted by Emily Haley, Community Resource Manager

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