It really doesn’t seem like two years since I attended the biannual Childhood Trauma Conference in 2016 but it is and the suitcase is out to start packing again for my flight this Thursday. It’s just as well I got my hug from Stephen Porges (Mr Polyvagal Theory) as he isn’t speaking at this event but oh my… what a great hug this man is, practising empathy and connection.
Yes, much has changed. Two years ago I hadn’t started my MA (just about to finish that), we had literally just had a referendum in which a little over half the country voted to separate the UK from the EU, Trump had yet to be elected. Shall I go on? A lot has happened, and this antithesis to connection that we have seen growing over the last few years plays a huge part in the explosion of the need for it! It is a mirror.
It also feels appropriate to draw our attention to Grenfell and how it wasn’t responded to through a trauma lens at a Governmental level (thankfully it was at a community level). In contrast, the recent experience in Thailand whereby 12 boys found themselves trapped in a cave for weeks which was responded to through a trauma lens, from every level.
Our thirst for knowledge and developing comprehension about trauma has expanded hugely; noticeably in the last eight months. The Adverse Childhood Experiences agenda, conferences such as these that extend all over Europe and America and online summits, the growing reality of the impact of the ‘austerity agenda’ and global divisions, alongside the deep knowing that the 21st century has very particular implications for child development bring a need for a different lens through which to view the world.
As we find ourselves living in a world which places the utmost value on individual responsibility in isolation of the availability of the village (community provision has been decimated in some areas of the UK), competitiveness reigns supreme (look at our education system), connection and empathy take a back seat over remaining online and appearing successful and beautiful. In this context, trauma comes to the fore with it’s friends Connection, Empathy, Relationships and Resonance.
The line up this year looks stunning as ever and with some very new faces to add to my research base ensuring that my training is full of the latest research and underpins all that I speak of. Particular favourites that are embedded in my thinking that I am so excited about seeing again are Louis Cozolino (Timeless), Judy Atkinson (Trauma Trails) and Gabor Mate (who I haven’t met yet but whose work I use within mine around addiction).
I will do as I did in 2016 and blog the main points from each day while I’m there (which helps embed my learning too) which I hope you enjoy.
And if you fancy joining me, there is still time to book a flight I reckon 😉