Trauma’s Destructive Effects – Bob Johnson’s new podcast
Dr. Bob Johnson's podcast offers one simple explanation for intractable psychological disturbances – traumatic origins are deeply buried. The sufferer cannot recall them without their frontal lobes becoming "blocked" – so however diligent and persistent the doctor is, the more they press these sufferers, the more tightly do they become obscure. If you don’t know what you're doing, you get nowhere. No wonder too many doctors have concluded that ’nothing works’. They then come to blame the patient, rather than their ignorance of the impact of trauma on speech centre and frontal lobes (see Bessel van der Kolk’s brainscan work).
In 1991, Dr Bob Johnson began work as a psychiatrist, in a Special Unit inside a maximum security prison. This Unit was located in the UK’s then flagship prison, Parkhurst, on the Isle of Wight. The Unit was for prisoners regarded as too dangerous for Broadmoor, the pre-eminent UK high-security prison hospital. Over a five year period, he set out to persuade these violent men, including a number of known serial killers, that however horrendous their childhoods had been, they were now adult, so could let all their ‘nursery nightmares’ slide into the past, where they belonged.
In this podcast, he discusses with his wife Sue, how they came to move there, how the men reacted, and, as an introduction, what one of the more notorious UK prisoners thought of the whole affair. Charlie Bronson has made a name for himself in the media – here his heart-felt letter to Dr Bob gives a whole new slant on both himself, and on the work undertaken. Sue has written a graphic account of what it was like from her point of view. Happy viewing.