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Dr. James  Gordon

Dr. James Gordon

Award-Winning Psychiatrist, NIMH Researcher & Georgetown Medical School Professor, Advisor to Three US Presidents & Internationally Recognized Leader in Using Self-Care & Group Support to Heal Population-Wide Psychological Trauma

Dr. James Gordon

Award-Winning Psychiatrist, NIMH Researcher & Georgetown Medical School Professor, Advisor to Three US Presidents & Internationally Recognized Leader in Using Self-Care & Group Support to Heal Population-Wide Psychological Trauma


Dr. James S. Gordon, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist, is the Founder and CEO of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and most recently, the author of Transforming Trauma: The Path to Hope and Healing. Formerly a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health and chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, he is a clinical professor of psychiatry and family medicine at Georgetown Medical School.

In 1991, Dr. Gordon founded The Center for Mind-Body Medicine. He wanted to create a healing community and community of healers, to make self-awareness, self-care, and group support central to all health care, to the training of health professionals, and the education of our children. He understood, even then, that all of us, regardless of age or educational level, have a great and largely untapped capacity to help and heal ourselves and heal one another.

Dr. Gordon now leads a staff of 35 and an international faculty of 150 who have trained more than 7,000 clinicians, educators, and community leaders. They, in turn, have brought CMBM’s therapeutic and educational program to many hundreds of thousands of traumatized and stressed adults and children, as well as people confronting the challenges of anxiety, depression, and chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

A peace-maker and consensus-builder, Dr. Gordon is known for cross-cultural relationship building as well as deep life-changing therapeutic work with individuals, families, and groups. For more than 25 years, he has led CMBM teams in relieving population-wide psychological trauma: during and after wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa; after climate related disasters in Louisiana, Texas, California, Puerto Rico, and Haiti; in communities affected by school shootings; and with active duty U.S. military and veterans and their families.

Over the past 3 years, Dr. Gordon and his team have worked closely with tribal elders, teachers, and clinicians on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservations in South Dakota to create a program that has married mind-body medicine to traditional Lakota healing and stemmed a tide of youth suicide on the reservation.

Dr. Gordon and his team are now working with peer counselors, teachers, and parents at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, and are partnering with Broward County Public Schools to support the entire community of 270,000 students and 30,000 employees. He and his international faculty are also collaborating with South Sudan’s pre-transitional government and civil society organizations to heal the psychological wounds of that devastated country’s 60 years of war.

A noted author and essayist, he has published ten previous books and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, as well as numerous professional journals, and has been featured on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and NPR.

Dr. Gordon’s latest book, Transforming Trauma: The Path to Hope and Healing, helps us understand that trauma will come sooner or later to all of us. Trauma, he explains, is a human experience, not a pathological anomaly. In Transforming Trauma, he guides us step by step in a comprehensive, evidence-based program to reverse the psychological and biological damage that trauma causes. He shows us, drawing on the latest scientific research, 50 years of clinical experience, timeless wisdom, and inspiring life stories, how we can, as we meet the challenges that trauma brings, discover the ordinary joys as well as the meaning and purpose of our lives. We come to know that our broken hearts can open with greater compassion and love.

Dr. Gordon’s other books include Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression (Penguin Press), Manifesto for a New Medicine: Your Guide to Healing Partnerships and the Wise Use of Alternative Therapies (Perseus Books), and the award-winning Health for the Whole Person. He has authored numerous book chapters and has published more than 140 articles in professional journals and the popular press.

Dr. Gordon's staff of 40 and international faculty of 160 at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine can customize and execute in-depth workshops, break out sessions, and small group experiences on countless topics related to mindfulness, wellbeing, and psychological resilience, including: guided imagery, active & quiet meditation, food as medicine, the power of gratitude & forgiveness, stress & trauma relief, the science of mind-body medicine, mindful & healthy eating, the healing power of nature, strategic self-care, building mentally & emotionally healthy workplaces, and so much more.

Speaker Videos

TEDMED: Fulfilling Trauma’s Hidden Promise

TEDx: Embracing Our Global Healing Crisis

The 2 Big Misconceptions About Trauma


Speech Topics

Combating Workplace Stress & Fostering Resilience

Stressed. Burnt out. Anxious. Sound familiar? Many of us, particularly during this time of the pandemic, are feeling overwhelmed by our workload, struggling to meet deadlines. These stressful realities are compounded by fears of COVID-19, our physical isolation from colleagues, and our uncertainties about the future. Dr. Gordon will help you put these stressors into perspective and teach you self-care techniques to bring you back into the biological and psychological balance that will enable you to mobilize to address them.

Creating Space for Mindfulness at Work

Mindfulness is often presented as optional; something that we practice if we have some extra time on our hands or manage to muster up a little bit of serenity. In reality, mindfulness is most needed during the times it’s most difficult to practice it -- in high-stress environments, during emotionally difficult times, and when we are forced to confront threats to our health and uncertainty about our future. Join Dr. Gordon to discuss how we make mindfulness an everyday reality, and learn and experience how it can change your life and relationship with work.

Moving Through Our Own Trauma as We Work with Traumatized Clients

We all know that you can’t pour water from an empty cup. So how do we take care of ourselves and address our own trauma enough to be able to properly take care and address the trauma of others? Dr. Gordon will address this question, teaching us to use breath and movement to quiet trauma-agitated minds and melt trauma-frozen bodies. He will explain how the biological and psychological balance these techniques provide create the foundation for successful use of a vast array of self-care and therapeutic tools.

The Trauma Healing Diet

We all have or will experience burnout on the job and the sluggishness, boredom, and frustration that accompany it. One way we can learn to combat burnout is by learning which foods enhance our ability to deal effectively with the challenges life brings to us and indeed rebuild brains damaged by trauma and chronic stress. Dr. Gordon will address the connection between the digestive tract and the brain, provide a roadmap for creating a trauma healing, stress reducing diet, and share ways to bring mindfulness to every aspect of food selection, cooking, and eating.

Beyond Burnout

Devoting oneself to helping others can be as challenging as it is rewarding. For many of us, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges have exceeded the rewards. We may feel irritable, have difficulty concentrating, and find ourselves exhausted halfway through the day. We have to force ourselves to listen compassionately and may find our minds wandering. Dr. Gordon will provide a hopeful perspective on preventing as well as healing burnout and will share with us techniques he has used, including meditation and movement, guided imagery, journaling, and mindful eating that recharge our batteries and allow us to be emotionally present and productive as we work with our patients, clients, and students.

Community Healing After Tragedy

In the wake of a community tragedy such as a shooting, a suicide, or a form of sexual violence, we often find ourselves frozen by trauma, unable to figure out what to do next to take care of ourselves or those around us. Over the course of 50 years of psychological healing work, Dr. Gordon has come to the conclusion that practicing self-care and engaging in small, supportive self-care groups has the power to transform lives, heal trauma, and build healthier, more resilient communities. Join Dr. Gordon to hear how he has used these tools in the midst of wars and after mass shootings, and learn how to use the tools and why they are effective, and how you can work with them to bring transformation and healing to your life and your workplace, campus, and community.

Understanding The Mind-Body Connection in High-Stress Environments

When we experience trauma, our bodies go into life saving mode, pushing us into the life-saving fight-or-flight stress response. When that response is prolonged, as it often is when we experience major and/or ongoing trauma, we become agitated and hyper-vigilant; we feel powerless, grow angry with little or no provocation; we cannot concentrate or relax into a sleep that may be filled with nightmares of what we’ve suffered or might again undergo. In this talk, Dr. Gordon will address trauma-induced biological damage and its psychological consequences, providing tools and techniques to restore biological and psychological balance and to free you from the loop of hopeless and self-defeating thoughts that bind you to trauma.

Navigating the Post-Disaster Trauma of Customers & Clients

The trauma of others can be overwhelming, especially when we’re the ones they’re turning to for help after a disaster. Sometimes, their trauma can even begin to feel like our trauma. In this talk, Dr. Gordon will explain what trauma is, the ways we all experience it, and how to come into the biological and psychological balance that enables us to talk about trauma with customers and/or clients in a way that is sensitive, useful, self-preserving, and meaningful.

Dr. Gordon is also happy to offer breakout sessions, including:

  • Preparing for the unexpected
  • The ins & outs of complementary & alternative medicine
  • More on fight, flight, or freeze and their antidotes
  • Putting mindfulness techniques into practice
  • Psychological healing as a means of violence reduction
  • Navigating the trauma of COVID-19
  • Using food as medicine
  • The effects of poverty, gender, & race on mental wellbeing