Trauma Prevention as Social Change: From Trauma Theory to
Real Life Practice (Audio Training, 3 Credits)
with Laurie Anne Pearlman, PhD, Karen Saakvitne, PhD, Patricia Wilcox, MSW, Steven Brown, PsyD, Ervin Staub, PhD, Esther Giller, MA
Purchase with CE Credit
In this institute, we present three theory-based initiatives in trauma prevention and treatment. We describe two central theories and three initiatives based on them, highlighting the process, challenges, and benefits of attempts to put theory into actual practice. The theories are constructivist self development theory (McCann, Pearlman, 1990; Pearlman, Saakvitne, 1995), a relational trauma theory which provides a framework for understanding the psychological impact of traumatic life experiences, and Staub´s model for understanding the origins and prevention of group violence (1989, 2003). The three projects all emphasize the importance of theoretical frameworks, the healing powers of RICH relationships (that include respect, information, connection, and hope (Saakvitne, 2000), and the ethical imperative to address the experience and needs of the healer in trauma work. Saakvitne will describe the translation of psychological theory into a training curriculum, Risking Connection. Esther Giller will present Baltimore´s Spirituality and Victim Services Initiative using the CSDT-based Risking Connection (Saakvitne, 2000) and Risking Connection in Faith Communities (Day, 2006) curricula as training and collaboration-building tools to bring together multidisciplinary community resources to trauma survivors. Wilcox and Brown will describe efforts to create trauma-informed care systems for young adults, adolescents, and children in mental health systems. This initiative has taken place largely in congregate care settings. It combines training and consultation using Risking Connection, and the restorative approach (Wilcox, 2006), a treatment approach emphasizing relational rather than behavioral management techniques. Pearlman and Staub describe a project that combines CSDT with Staub´s Origins and Prevention model to promote healing in Rwanda. Staub´s work identifies the psychological, social, economic, and historic forces that set the stage for group violence. It emphasizes understanding the sources of violence and the necessary components of reconciliation after mass violence. A controlled evaluation of their approach found decreased trauma symptoms and more positive orientation toward the other group. The approach has been used with groups from community members to national leaders, and is the basis of radio-based public education in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Each presentation will discuss research, challenges, and successes.