Natureza Gabriel Kram’s new book dispels of the snowflake myth when it comes to childhood trauma. More than ever, a work like his new book — Restorative Practices of Wellbeing — shows that the idea of childhood trauma, and hence the hackneyed term of ‘childhood scars’, is sadly no longer something to render as a factual rarity. “In the United States of America, in 2020, we are dying from disconnection,” Kram writes. “In this country, 60–80 percent of visits to primary care physicians are stress-related. In October 2019, I delivered a keynote address at the national Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine conference.
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When I asked 180 medical doctors what percentage of their patients came to see them for stress-related issues, every doctor in the room said it was at least 80 percent. Every single doctor.” He continues: “…Heartbreakingly, in the United States, among the general population, greater than one in four children are physically abused, one in five are sexually abused, one in seven are emotionally neglected, and one in ten is physically neglected. One in four families are dealing with substance abuse, one in five families with mental illness, and one in four families with parental separation or divorce. From 2006 to 2011, inpatient visits for suicide, suicidal ideation, and self-injury increased by 104% for children ages 1 to 17 years, and by 151% for children aged 10 to 14 years old. For children!”
Kram’s willingness to blend sobering statistics with genuinely impassioned rhetoric makes Restorative Practices of Wellbeing wholly effective. A lot of reads like this one can suffer from being rendered in black-and-white mediums, whether veering on the acutely clinical, or forsaking the data for well-intentioned, but overtly maudlin focal points. Kram knows how to balance both effectively, and because of this the read is able to reach what I think will be a varied and wide-ranging audience. It’s crucial that this kind of information becomes normalized so society across a wide spectrum can do something about it, that light is thrown into the shadows of realms previously dismissed or shamefully ignored by the majority.
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Particularly when it comes to the fields of race, mental health, and substance abuse. But what really propels Restorative Practices to the next level is the unapologetic holism, psychology, and methodology Kram recommends for dealing with trauma on an acute physical, psychological, and even spiritual level. The way he writes this is with the same delicacy with which he presents the issues. A sense of objectivity, while still standing firm by a variety of techniques that are arguably derived from a decidedly homeopathic origin. “To come out of dissociation — physiologically, spiritually, psychologically — we have to turn back toward the crime scene, the scene of original exile — and we have to slow down,” Kram writes. “…Turn back toward what frightens you, and do not do it alone.
We have to feel all the things that we have been unwilling to feel, to grieve all the losses we have been unwilling to acknowledge. We have to weep together. And then we have to dust ourselves off, and we have to bury our guns, plant a tree of peace, sit in a circle around it, and weave a new world through gratitude. As the Elders say, where you point your attention is what you will become.”