Monday, May 14, 2012

Safe Space Radio - Violence and Shame w/ Dr. Jim Gilligan

Good information - when children grow up with shame, when they become teens and adults, shame and disrespect become triggers for dysfunction. And if those kids grow up in a place where violence is endemic, then that dysfunction will often take violence as its form.

Dr. James Gillligan is the author of several books, including Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic and Preventing Violence: Prospects for Tomorrow. He believes that punishment does not work - we must educate and raise mentally healthy children.

Violence and Shame

An interview with psychiatrist, Dr. Jim Gilligan, former mental health director for the prison system in Massachusetts, and the author of three books on violence.   Dr. Gilligan reports that many of his patients told him that they had committed murder and other acts of violence because they felt disrespected.  He reports that for these men, feeling treated as if they were one down, weak or inferior was intolerable, and that violence was their only means of reclaiming pride or self-esteem.  He also observes that punishment tends to generate violence, both in parenting and in our penal system.  Punishment relieves people of  the guilt (that inhibits violence), but increases their shame, which fuels violent acting out.  Under his tenure, the only prison program that successfully reduced recidivism to zero,  was offering course toward a college degree. In those men who completed the program, they now had non-violent means of reclaiming their self-esteem, and feeling less ashamed.

This show aired on April 25th, 2012.
For a little added education, here is a lecture from Dr. Gilligan on education as a preventative for violence.

Dr. James Gilligan - Youth and violence The role of education inspiring solutions

Dr. James Gilligan is on the faculty of New York University where he is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, and Collegiate Professor in the School of Arts and Science. He is married to Carol Gilligan.

For 30 years, Dr. Gilligan was on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, where he directed the mental health and violence prevention services for the Massachusetts prison system. He has served as a consultant on violent crime and punishment, including war crimes, throughout the United States and around the world.

Dr. Gillligan is the author of several works, including Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic and Preventing Violence: Prospects for Tomorrow. In his writings, Dr Gilligan argues that overwhelming feelings of shame and humiliation lie at the root of both individual and collective violence; violence in its many forms thus becomes a desperate and risky attempt to gain respect and recognition.

Dr. Gilligan has become one of the leading exponents of shifting our emphasis from punishing violence after it occurs to preventing it before it happens.

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