International Trauma Conference

This week I feel very privileged to be attending one of the leading trauma conferences in the world: The Psychological Trauma, Neuroscience, Attachment and Therapeutic intervention. This conference is in its 25th year and brings together the leading researchers and voices in the field of trauma. Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk is the Conference Director, and the presenters that are bringing their research and expertise to this conference are the best of the best in the field of trauma.

The work on trauma has come far in the last 25 years

International Trauma Conference, Boston, 2014
International Trauma Conference, Boston, 2014

My initial impression from day one of the trauma conference is a deep appreciation for the amazing amount of work and progress over the past 25 years.  We have come from a place of hardly knowing anything about trauma to making some real progress in our understanding of how the brain works in relation to traumatic events.  Details of neuroscientific research have really changed how we understand the impact of trauma and the brain’s reactions to the events around it.

I am also impressed with the diligence of these top names in trauma. 

The are individuals whose life’s work is an undying commitment  to help children and adults who have been victims of trauma.  They are tireless in their research, grant-writing for their work, publication and connection to other seasoned professionals who are contributing to each other’s work in a significant collaborative effort internationally.

Hundreds of professionals, also the top in their field, are attending this event.  They, too, are working at various levels to provide healing and hope to trauma-impacted individuals. By attending this conference, they hope to enhance their knowledge, understanding and application of the latest research and developments in this important field.

Finally, some of the most compelling information, at least to me, is the neuroscientific research which consistently  points to the value of helping to prevent some of the very serious issues related to trauma. It shows the value of providing environments for our children in which they can connect to their caregivers in a healthy way.

Connections are a powerful force in the health and development of our brains. 

They are almost a make or break situation neurologically, and it appears that the tentacles of connection reach so many issues that impact our lives, relationships and overall physical and emotional health. For example, the quality of early childhood relationships with the caregivers is essential to the developing brain.

Moreover, the research in the human brain, in primates and in therapeutic impact have demonstrated that the most promising way to prevent trauma is to provide quality of caregiving for children in homes, schools and communities. Although not all issues are preventable, we can inform and equip caregivers in ways that make a significant difference to almost every aspect of the developing brains of our children.

As we experience this amazing opportunity, there will be more to come to understand the needs of both children and adults who have been trauma-impacted. There is still so much to learn and understand.  We are indebted to these quality and caring professionals who are presenting at this conference.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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