Behind the Voices is a snapshot Q&A featuring the hosts and guests of MHPN’s six-part podcast, ‘Book Club’. The rules of engagement are simple: MHPN asks five questions, and our hosts and guests provide their answers. What’s the point? To get a sense of the voices behind each episode… How they think, what they’re currently reading, what they’ve learnt through or since their initial conversation together, and what book they’d want to discuss next on Book Club.
Read on to hear from Dr Johanna Lynch and Dr Cathy Kezelman AM of Book Club Episode 5: “Opening Your Eyes: Navigating Childhood Trauma with ‘The Deepest Well’.
Book Club is essentially a conversation between two mental health practitioners. Johanna and Cathy, as episode 5’s host and guest respectively, can you identify and describe a moment or comment during your conversation with one another that sparked a new perspective on The Deepest Well or the broader topic of childhood adversity, Nadine Burke Harris’ research, the importance of awareness of long term effects of childhood trauma?
JOHANNA LYNCH: My favourite part of this conversation with Cathy was her reminder that the reason we are passionate about raising awareness of childhood adversity and its impact on health is that there are now new treatments available that give hope and a new lens on healing.
CATHY KEZELMAN: I’m not sure the conversation sparked a new perspective but chatting with Johanna and hearing her commitment and passion, right from the introduction, strengthened my resolve to shout this information from the rooftops. Johanna deeply shares my frustration and that which Nadine articulates so clearly around the pervasive lack of acknowledgement around the profound long-term effects of childhood trauma. So many opportunities [are] being missed every day to identify, acknowledge, and intervene to make a real difference to people’s lives!
If you found yourself in the same room with Nadine Burke Harris, what would you like to say to her or perhaps ask of her? And… if Burke Harris were to listen to your episode, how do you think she would respond?
JOHANNA LYNCH: I would just like to thank her for her persistence, her capacity to gather information from different disciplines, and wise story telling. I would also like to tell her that we have been teaching GPs using her TED talk for about 5 years and each time, it seems to help shift the paradigm, to help GPs see how childhood adversity affects health.
I think [Burke Harris] would be happy to see two clinicians on the other side of the planet who have been strengthened and encouraged by her work. I hope she would find our conversation encouraging too!
CATHY KEZELMAN: I would like to thank [Burke Harris] for her leadership, vision and humility and share with her that I have a personal crush on her. If she was to listen to the episode, I would hope that she would see how her ground-breaking research, advocacy and clinical insights are leading a movement for change and that she has single-handedly helped to drive the ground-breaking work of Felitti and Anda forward to a place and in a way in which it can be examined, understood and implemented.
To give our readers a sense of the person behind the voice of Book Club episode 5, can you tell us what you last read for pleasure and / or what you last read for work, and sum each up in three words?
JOHANNA LYNCH: Last read for pleasure: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - heartbreaking, epic, humane
Last read for work: Restoring mentalizing in attachment relationships: treating trauma with plain old therapy by John Allen - wise, thoughtful, important.
CATHY KEZELMAN: For pleasure, Becoming Michelle Obama (autobiography). Moral, leadership, reflective.
For work, The Pocket Guide to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in Context, Pat Ogden Refreshing, human, connected.
If you had a chance to talk about another book / text of your choosing on Book Club, what would it be and why?
JOHANNA LYNCH: Many Minds, One Self: Evidence for a Radical Shift in Paradigm by Richard Schwartz and Robert Falconer.
I found this book to be a great help to deconstruct the way that psychiatric philosophy has prioritised reason and the unitary way of seeing the self. It offers robust ways of understanding the self as made up naturally of parts that have creative capacity to overcome distress. This way of seeing the self aligns with what I see in my patients in how they make decisions and experience the world. I would love to discuss this book with another clinician!
CATHY KEZELMAN: Restoring Sanctuary by Sandra Bloom.
It is a guide for us all to put humanity back into systems, bring down the heat of toxic stress in organisations and the meaning back into being trauma-informed. The third of a trilogy and a fundamental roadmap back to sanity in mental health care and service delivery.
We’ve talked a lot about words, and we’ve had a chance to hear your voice in the podcast. Could you show us your bookshelf, favourite reading spot, last book you read, or something else?
JOHANNA LYNCH: This is a photograph of one of my work bookshelves!
CATHY KEZELMAN: This is an image of my favourite reading spot – my garden in Spring.
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