Dr. Gabor Maté speaks to close to 700 people at the Splatsin Community Centre in Enderby on June 1 about finding the roots of addictions and healing from them. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Dr. Gabor Maté speaks to close to 700 people at the Splatsin Community Centre in Enderby on June 1 about finding the roots of addictions and healing from them. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Trauma film screening intends to promote community-based healing

Film features renowned addiction expert and therapeutic “Compassionate Inquiry” technique

On May 24 at 7 p.m. in the Della Herman Theatre in Smithers, the BV Social Planning Society is hosting a viewing of “The Wisdom of Trauma” film featuring Dr. Gabor Maté, a renowned addiction expert who developed a psychotherapeutic technique known as Compassionate Inquiry.

Trauma is life-altering. It takes on many forms of behaviours and needs a community to help in reconnecting individuals in the healing process, according to the film.

“Many behaviours stem from the impact of trauma including addictions and disconnecting from community,” Maté, explains in the film. The bottom line is making connections, human to human, he said.

“It is about humanity, compassion and the need to make connections, if you have connections you feel safe. It’s a doorway to healing.”

The screening is part of a broader effort to deal with trauma-related issues in Smithers, the focus of which is to work collaboratively with many facets of the community to address critical gaps in services, as well as to create a better understanding of those in our community who are presently unsheltered, explained Cheryl Hofweber, one of the organizers for the screening.

“There has been much work done over the past few years in many of our local agencies to foster an understanding of trauma-informed practice in the schools and among service providers,” said Dr. Linda O’Neill, a certified trauma specialist.

O’Neill has offered many workshops in Smithers on trauma-informed practice for schools, service providers, and parent groups.

The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre will also host a showing of the film on May 26, at the Cultural Centre on Third Avenue. There will also be a panel discussion following the screening.

Sandra Harris will be a member of the panel. Harris has been providing sessions and sharing insights related to working with trauma through an Indigenous lens for some time in Smithers. For example, she was the facilitator of the process with families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls that brought about the mural that now graces the side of the Dze L K’ant building at Main Street and Second Avenue.

Community understanding and connecting with those who have experienced trauma are key to the healing process for individuals, and it is important for those in the community to understand connecting to the community is a vital part of the healing process, explained Hofweber.

“Over 14 agencies have been meeting and working to bring this film to the community, and it is our hope people will come and be willing to watch the film and have open and honest discussions about the role the community can play in the healing process for those who have experienced trauma in our community, and how we can connect with them,” she said.

“It has been deemed important to the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre, for their staff to be offering a lunchtime showing for members of the public, as well.

“All of us need to be involved, doctors, local agencies, mental health workers, members of the public. We all need to be engaged to ensure all members of our population feel included, needed and we all prioritize their healing process.”

Tickets are available for both showings at Mountain Eagle Books and Mills Interior Stationery for free and can be reserved by calling 250-847-5245. The organizers are asking people who attend to bring donations for the food bank and Smithers Secondary Grub Hub.

The public is advised the film covers sensitive information including addictions, mental illness and the effects of trauma.

The film is being sponsored by the BV Social Planning Society, in partnership with the Town of Smithers. Funding grants were provided by the Union of BC Municipalities under the Strengthening Community Services Program.