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Culture, Spirituality and Health: Clash of Beliefs was last modified: November 1st, 2017 by Richard Irwin
Increasing evidence is emerging that the brain is largely shaped by our social experiences through neuroplasticity, Social experience may have more powerful effects on gene expression through epigenetics than classical heredity. The audience effect means that gene expression is more powerful when we are in the company of others than when we are alone. This research is converging with indigenous knowledge that healing occurs within the context of community and that our social relationships make us who we are. I will speak about the neuroscience, the indigenous knowledge, their convergence, and our research findings in relation to this, including the impact of healing circles/talking circles on symptom relief and quality of life in primary care, the power of group healing and peer counseling/support for people who have psychosis, and the role of group self-medical care on improving health for people with diabetes, asthma, and pregnant women with drug and alcohol problems. In all these contexts, the power of group and community for healing is demonstrated. We conclude with the implications for the future of medicine and psychology.
This weekend retreat will bring together the philosophical and spiritual traditions of the East and the West, as we explore with Ravi some of the concerns of eternal wisdom, including the nature of Ultimate Reality, the spiritual and material structure of the cosmos, and the purpose of human incarnation.