Martha Stark, MD
- Speak to the paradoxical impact of stress on the living system
- Explain the relationship between “challenge” and “defensive reaction” on the one hand and “support” and “adaptive response” on the other
- Elaborate upon several treatment options that “lighten the load” (to correct for toxicities) and “replenish the reserves” (to correct for deficiencies)
Synopsis: Long intrigued by the idea that superimposing an acute injury on top of a chronic one is often exactly what the body needs in order to heal, I have come to appreciate that, so too with respect to the mind, the therapeutic provision of “optimal stress” – against the backdrop of an empathically attuned and authentically engaged therapy relationship – is sometimes the magic ingredient needed to overcome the inherent resistance to change so frequently manifested by patients with longstanding emotional injuries and scars. Behind this “no pain / no gain” approach is my firm belief in the underlying resilience that patients will inevitably discover within themselves once they are prompted to tap into their inborn ability to self-correct in the face of optimal stress – an innate capacity that will enable them ultimately to advance from cursing the darkness (a less-evolved defensive reaction) to lighting a candle (a more-evolved adaptive response).