Mind-Body Medicine

05/31/2012

MBM Instructor Participates in Trauma Relief Project in Post-Earthquake Haiti: Lynda Richtsmeier Cyr, Ph.D.

Lynda Richtsmeier Cyr in Haiti Tent City with Children
Lynda Richtsmeier Cyr in Haiti Tent City with Children

Earlier in her career as a child psychologist, Lynda never imagined that she would participate in international trauma relief.  Although she felt compassion for people suffering around the world, she was the mother of young children and had a career as a hospital psychologist that made it difficult to be away from her responsibilities.  Hearing the news of the earthquake in Haiti, and the devastation that ensued, was a turning point for Lynda.  Coincidentally, she had reached a place in her career where she had space for something new.  Her children are older, and being away from home for short periods of time seemed reasonable.

Lynda has been on the faculty at the Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM) since 2006.  She supervises people who are pursuing CMBM certification, and regularly leads Mind-Body Skills groups in her community.  When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, Lynda felt the desire to be of service to the Haitian people, particularly the children. Feeling this desire, she joined the CMBM Global Trauma relief team.  Being part of the team would also be an opportunity to experience the power of the CMBM Mind-Body Skills groups in a different culture, and to train people to use this model in a sustainable manner. Lynda was part of the initial CMBM team that provided workshops and site visits in Haiti to generate interest in larger scale training.  The CMBM team has now trained 120 Haitians in mind-body medicine, developed a local Leadership Team of 15 clinicians, and is conducting a second round of Initial and Advanced Mind-Body Medicine trainings in 2012.            

Lynda recalls working with a group of nursing students in one of the early workshops in May, 2010.  As the earthquake struck, nursing students were attending class.  About 90 of those students perished in the earthquake as their academic building collapsed.  The 100 students who came to the CMBM workshop were still stricken with grief.  They were committed to continuing their studies to become nurses.   When the students completed the training, Lynda recalls that they left with a sense of lightness and renewed hope for their situation.  The people in Haiti that have completed the CMBM trainings feel a sense of peace and hope in the midst of incredible loss and ongoing challenges.  During her most recent training in Haiti, Lynda reflected on how this journey has touched her heart.  The people of Haiti share deeply of themselves and listen deeply to one another. The experience reminded Lynda that healing comes from simple things; it doesn’t have to be complicated.  She has learned to simply listen with an open heart, be present, and remember that she doesn’t have to fix everything.  It is easy to become overwhelmed with the multitude of issues in Haiti.  However, when a group of Haitian people come into the CMBM training feeling distraught, and leave the training feeling lighter and with a new sense of hope, this is the beginning of healing.

 


Posted at 08:05 PM in

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