Trauma Workshop

Over the course of the last few days I have the great pleasure of attending a Trauma workshop done by Dr. Palmer. First of all Dr. Palmer has a very impressive resume in which she has experience and research extensively in the field of psychology and trauma. She is the chair and Director of training of professional psychology and family therapy, counselling psychology programme at the department of professional psychology and family therapy at Seton Hall University.

The first day of the workshop was filled with a great deal of theory. Information was abundant and by the end of the day I felt saturated, but not in a bad way. I felt empowered and motivated like a child again, to read and explore an area that is popping up more and more in my work setting.
Children are being traumatized on a daily basis and we need to look at this more closely in order to help them. Working at a residential children’s home is a place ripe with traumatized children and equally ripe with triggers that often sets the children’s behaviour spiraling out of control. The stories children hear at school, in the media and in our lives are causing them to be traumatized more and more everyday.
Palmer’s Wisdom

One of the things that I did not realise before this workshop is that trauma can start as early as the prenatal stage. When the child is born it is very important for the child to get that care and nurturing needed. Otherwise these apparent little things have a serious effect on the child’s development and this contributes to trauma.

Other aspects that were quite informative and interesting is the play therapy techniques taught on the second day. The first exercise was to draw a picture without talking. We were put into groups and numbered off so that persons who most likely knew and were sitting next to each other were placed in a different group. Then each person in the group had to choose a color and draw a picture. No further instruction was given. It was very interesting to see how the different groups approached this exercise differently. Some groups were drawing their own pictures on different parts of the page so the picture was a bit disjointed as a whole but represented each of them. Some groups communicated through sign language and made a picture looking like if they planned it. Other groups looks at each others drawings and tried to add on. All in all it was a wonderful exercise. At the end of it we had to give the picture a title and explain what was done and what group dynamics took place during the exercise.
The second technique that we usually do not use in Trinidad is sandtray therapy. Basically you get a tray and fill it with sand. You can have wet sand or dry sand and provide all different figurines and items for kids to make their own picture. This can be used for children and adults in therapy. The picture to the right is a representation of what our group did with sandtray therapy using rice instead of sand.
The video below gives more information on sandtray therapy.