How do we make sense of a trusted expert or mentor in our field exhibiting behaviour that completely dissolves the trust and admiration that we felt? There may be no definitive answer. “Experts” often get put on pedestals, but the reality is that they often become experts not because they are the most knowledgeable, have the most integrity or because they are best suited for a particular postion. It is because they have a particular kind of currency and power. Using a recent example, that effects the field of trauma directly, are the allegations against Bessel Van Der Kolk and his subsequent firing from the Trauma Centre in Boston. Van Der Kolk is a white, cis-gendered, man who fits our paradigm of what an expert looks like. Because of this, he is more likely to get grants, to be promoted, to be heard, to be admired, to be put on the pedestal.
When we put all our stock in the research that is funded and the science that is a derivative of that, we miss out. We know that there are other sources of knowledge, wisdom and expertise that may completely dissolve what we think we know. Research doesn’t happen in a vacuum and its aligned with very powerful forces and vested interests. It’s important to remember this when we feel deeply entrenched in our paradigm, our “science”, our experts. It’s important to remember that research might support certain paradigms, but it never proves them. Most of our beliefs are dissolved with time and new theories emerge decade after decade.
There is a deep reservoir of knowledge that we are not in touch with, because there are so many voices that have been silenced.
Let’s listen to the voices that haven’t always been amplified. There is a dismantling and a re-structuring that needs to occur. On both a micro and macro level, the hierarchies that currently guide us only distance us from a more embodied and collaborative wisdom. We invite you to join us in unearthing different ways of knowing, learning, hearing.