Dr. Bruce Perry, MD, PhD: The Physiology of Belonging. ReRooted podcast Ep. 38 w/ Francesca Maximé
Dr. Bruce Perry and Francesca explore how the physiology of belonging heals the colonized traumas of cultural fragmentation and implicit bias.
Dr. 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 is the author of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered, and BRIEF: Reflections on Childhood, Trauma and Society. 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 https://www.bdperry.com/ and https://www.childtrauma.org/ and https://www.neurosequential.com/ This fall, Francesca is offering a 5-week embodied antiracism online course through the Academy of Therapy Wisdom launching in October.
A sense of belonging quiets your physiology and sparks neuroendocrine processes that make your organs more flexible, adaptive, and functional. When you don’t feel as if you belong, when you’re getting signals that you’re not seen or heard, it literally makes your physiology different, you become more distressed and increase the risk for disconnection. “The conceptualization of disease is disconnection. It’s disconnection from community or disconnection from being out of sync with nature. All of the healing processes involve reconnecting with the rhythms of nature, reconnecting with the people that you belong with.” – Dr. Bruce Perry
Colonization, Cultural Fragmentation, Resilience, & Trauma (22:28) When colonization and slavery destroyed and stripped away Indigenous communities, there was a powerful fragmentation of the cultural and community anchors that helped individuals feel like they belonged and kept them healthy. Dr. Perry shares that if you look at any First Nations or Indigenous community across the planet that has been colonized and has this cultural fragmentation, there are two things present: Resilience and Trauma. “To survive literally decades and generations of intentional genocide and cultural genocide; that’s pretty resilient. The second thing is, because of this fragmentation of physiological meaningful anchors of family and culture, there are higher rates of trauma-related, or stress related, health-issues.” – Dr. Bruce Perry
For another profound discussion on healing intergenerational trauma through the nuanced and multilayered processes of decolonization, tune into Ep.34 of Rerooted Implicit Bias, Media, & the Brain (43:31) What are we taking in when we are watching something? Is it just the surface level? As an example, Dr. Perry explains that when we watch tv shows as children, we start to make associations in deeper parts of our brain. One part of our brain may say, “I know it’s not right to judge somebody by their skin color, it should be the content of their character,” but if if we go down into the deeper parts of our brain that have been exposed to years of biased media, we notice rooted, unconscious imprints called ‘Implicit Bias.’ “This is what we have to fight against. We have to recognize that we all have elements of these toxic narratives in our head that we should start to become aware of and change.”– Dr. Bruce Perry