Gabor Maté on emotion, suppression & our immune response

‘Because of the physiological unity of mind/body, because of the physiological unity of the brain’s emotional centers, the immune system, the hormonal and nervous systems, when you suppress something in one area you are risking suppressing it in another area, so when you suppress your anger and boundaries emotionally, you are also suppressing your immune responses. And therefore your body is not as able to fight back against malignancy or, just as anger can turn against the self, so can the immune system

Anger is a necessary boundary protection. If something or somebody transgresses your boundaries, you express anger, not necessarily to hurt them, but simply to keep them out of your space. That’s a healthy response. More generally, the role of emotion is to keep out that which is dangerous or threatening, and to permit that which is nurturing and helpful. So we have anger, we have love, we have attraction, we have revulsion, the whole thing. But that’s exactly the role of the immune system. It’s to keep out that which is noxious and unhealthy, and to attack it if necessary, and to allow in that which is nurturing and supportive.’

Dr Gabor Maté

Thank you to Jason Hine on Facebook for posting this quote.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

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