34TH ANNUAL BOSTON INTERNATIONAL TRAUMA CONFERENCE | PART 3June 15th, 2023
By: Katie Walker |
Come with me for day by day takeaways on the latest and greatest in trauma treatment:
34th Annual Boston International Trauma Conference (https://
Today was amazing. There is so much that has been going on in the neurobiological and neuroscientific research of trauma injuries, trauma, and methods to help heal trauma. Since it was a lot of science lingo I cannot do justice here in a blog I am going to provide names, some of their research topics, and websites. It will be up to you to either take my word for it that there is a tremendous battery of research available and still being done to understand the brain and the impact emotions and trauma have on it; or do some of your own reading (highly recommending you discover it for yourself too!).
Very, very similar in the afternoon session was experiential innovations in treatment of trauma. Those exercises are best learned through doing so I will provide names and some websites then please discover the magic on your own.
1. Bessel van der Kolk M.D. (https://www.besselvanderkolk.
com; https:// traumaresearchfoundation.org) – Provided an overview of the past 3 decades of trauma research and trauma explorations. He has hundreds of published research articles; podcast interviews; teachings; trainings; recorded interviews; dozens of books.
2. Kerry J. Ressler M.D, PhD (https://www.mcleanhospital.
org/profile/kerry-ressler; http://www.resslerlab.com/ kerry-ressler.html) – Has done a tremendous amount of research on the neuroscience of fear and PTSD. He has information about how trauma impacts all of our sensory systems. This work is really important for helping us be able to gain understanding of how trauma also can impact our genetics from generation to generation.
3. Martin H. Teicher M.D, PhD (https://www.mcleanhospital.
org/profile/martin-teicher; https://www.bbrfoundation.org/ about/people/martin-h-teicher- md-phd) – Shared a brief reaction and addendum to Kerry Ressler’s talk. Martin Teicher is one of the founding researchers to look at the biological impact of developmental trauma on the brain at different ages and stages of life.
4. Tania Singer PhD (https://taniasinger.de; https://taniasinger.de/the-
resource-project/; https://humanize.com/#weglot_ switcher) – She gave a review of what was shared on Day 1; go check it out again! 🙂 Her work could change things for society.
5. Ronald D Siegel PsyD (https://drronsiegel.com; https://www.chacmc.org/ronald-
siegel) – He discussed some of the mindfulness work from Day 1. However, in this talk he went into mindfulness, compassion & psychedelic-assisted therapy and how evoking “non-ordinary” states can deeply benefit trauma treatment. Okay, I have a pretty open mind to drugs when they are used in a trained, healthy, purposeful way. The research they discussed is extremely promising for healing.
In the afternoon there were 3 different people/groups discussing specific treatments and interventions:
1. Bethany Brand PhD (https://bethanybrand.com) – Finding Solid Ground…even with the most dissociated individuals! Bethany has increased the amount of research and proof of positive treatment outcomes for people living with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and other dissociative and traumatized disorders. She reported that until she began her research that the most recent research prior to hers was from the 70s and 80s. She has created a treatment workbook and there is a companion book as well. I promise I’m not getting paid to share this; but here is a link to Amazon where you can find the book then the workbook is the same title with the work “workbook” after it (https://www.amazon.com/dp/
0190636084/?coliid= I1CJH0ZW8TL8R&colid= 1BNGF7R4MAIIP&psc=1&ref_=list_ c_wl_gv_ov_lig_pi_dp). As a therapist who did not learn enough about DID in any of my schooling; if sharing this book knowing that treatment options are available to learn – I want to let everyone know. If there are treatment options for groups of people who need help and are underserved; I’m more than happy to name resources.
2. Licia Sky (https://liciasky.com/index.
html) – Embodied self awareness, identity, multigenerational stories, and the emergent process of healing. Licia is a gentle, kind, embodied soul. She has spent decades learning about and sharing the power of movement. She has shared the healing knowledge that our bodies already possess but through life and different circumstances we have stopped listening to our bodies. If you follow the link to her website that will take you directly to videos of practice. I know at least for me when I include body work in my healing, life journey that I feel so much wholeness.
3. Andres Gonzalez, Ali Smith, Atman Smith, and Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT (https://
holisticlifefoundation.org; https://www.cathymalchiodi.com ) – Empowering communities to heal trauma. Okay, this one just amazed me. I work with almost all ages, but lately I’ve been working most with kids and teens. This work Andres, Ali, and Atman have been doing for 20+ years is truly inspired. They have worked with kids and teens in schools to teach them regulation skills that, through the years, have shown to improve outcomes for those they work with. They are based in Baltimore, MD and have seen over 100,000 (per their website) kids and teens not end up in prison, in gangs, detention; being the first in their family to graduate high school. Please check out the website above – this is the Holistic Life Foundation. If you are a therapist or someone reading this in Utah – our state could *greatly* benefit from bringing this to our kids and teens in school. We need to do better taking care of our kids and teenagers and this could be a good option. Cathy Malchiodi is an expressive arts therapist; experiential work. She has years of working with people and communities. She has done some work with Holistic Life and has years of her own work and treatment tools. She is definitely worth checking out as well.