34th Annual Boston International Trauma Conference | Part 1

May 19th, 2023

Come with me for day by day takeaways on the latest and greatest in trauma treatment: 

34th Annual Boston International Trauma Conference (https://traumaresearchfoundation.org)

This year I am attending the conference from the comfort of my living room and home office 🙂 And…it is completely worth it! The conference this year is 4 days of amazing information from researchers and practitioners that continue to create the best treatment options for individuals living with trauma and those of us who work in the trauma field. 

Today I attended “From Empathic Distress to Compassion: Building Resilience in the Face of Trauma” with Tania Singer (https://taniasinger.de) and Ronald Siegel (https://drronsiegel.com)

They discussed research that is helping to train peoples’ minds to improve three things: 

  1. attention & mindfulness (through breathing meditations and body scans)
  2. care & compassion (through loving kindness meditations and dyad exercises)
  3. cognitive perspective taking & theory of mind (through dyad exercises and observing-thoughts meditations)

A few interesting things they brought up early on is that attention & mindfulness are self oriented  skills. Care & compassion are self and other oriented skills (about relating to others and relationships). Cognitive perspective taking is a self and other oriented skill that is called “meta” meaning that you work on thinking about how you and others are thinking. 

The main research study here can be found on Tania Singer’s website (https://taniasinger.de) under the menu topic ReSource Project. This study was conducted for at least a year and phases were done in person as well as virtually because part of the study occurred while Germany was in lock down d/t COVID 19. Two things she shared from this study was seeing that the brain actually thickens, grows, and shows improvements in people who were doing the training. The parts that grow play a role in empathy, care and compassion. Second thing – that  peoples’ capacity and tolerance for social situations increases. 

Now, for those of us living with trauma this may sound great but very overwhelming. When it comes to tools, resources, and healing therapy is still a great way to go. Finding a therapist who will work with you, be patient, listen to you and provide some gentle guidance; all good things. One timeline for healing with improving feeling and sensation in the body as well as ability to name those things was 6-9 months with help. 

Okay, cutting this short here because really; this is better learned and done together. Head over to the Meet Our Team tab and see if anyone of us feel like a good fit to help you in healing from trauma and learning to find compassion for yourself. 

Come back tomorrow where I will be writing about “How to incorporate Neurofeedback into Trauma Treatment – Latest Developments”; “IFS and Addictions” … and possibly more! 

Written by Katie Walter