Childhood Trauma Conference Day One

What a day! Fonagy, Milroy, Schore, Goldstein/Ogden and Kestly. Where else would one have the opportunity to hear such speakers present on the latest research and trends? And 2600 attendees!

Here is a snapshot, in no particular order, of what I took from day one:

  • Just 1 per cent of 18 year olds who leave care go on to higher education.
  • 35 per cent of those who leave the care system are homeless within a year.
  • Check out Hurstbridge Farm: a therapeutic residential care centre in Victoria.
  • ‘All behaviour is communication’ – what is a child trying to communicate to us?
  • Fonagy on Epistemic Vigilance and Epistemic Trust. Only when there is trust will a child believe it is safe to learn. Fongay on Ostensive Cues.
  • Milroy on Institutional Abuse: On average it took individuals 24 years before they disclosed abuse. Men in particular would not disclose sexual abuse for fear of being labeled a perpetrator.
  • Schore: right brain to right brain connectivity between patient and therapist. Quoting Reik and Kris: ‘…the therapist’s interpersonal creativity with a re-enactment can promote a corrective emotional experience’. And quoting Meares: ‘the therapeutic conversation is a dynamic interplay between two right hemispheres.’
  • Schore again: the right brain is the creative; the left the cognitive.
  • Goldstein and Ogden on sensorimotor tools: the body tells the story. The body and thoughts ‘move’ together.
  • Kestly on storytelling through the sand tray. She quotes Porges on ‘polyvagal theory’. Also speaks of the right brain and ‘thinking in images’. How social engagement regulates the body. How play is so important as it ‘works as a neural exercise protecting ourselves’. How the sand tray allows children who are non-verbal to tell their story, and trauma is often experienced at the non-verbal level too.

There’s a lot to absorb and a lot more to follow up on . Day two beckons.


Author: john pitt


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