Conference Description: No moment exists in a vacuum - each moment occurs within a particular cultural context and brings its own social justice dilemmas. This reality impacts mental health professionals, the people with whom they work, and the relationships between them. This year's annual conference will focus on how professionals understand and make meaning of their trauma work in the context of what's happening in the world, and how that affects what they bring into the room in a meaningful and effective way, which both supports the people they serve and sustains the professionals.
Keynote Description: In the aftermath of a community tragedy, public narratives about the event play a key role in the acute and long-term response to such events and often have a significant impact on survivors and the clinicians working with them. Yet little training exists for the public, clinicians, and other public health responders on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work with journalists and respond to the news itself. This presentation will review controversies, evidence, and best practices to facilitate effective collaborations and consultations with journalists. There are many actions that professionals and the public can take in working with journalists to help shape the public narrative and understanding about traumatic events. These practices and lessons learned have implications for creating healing narratives in social media and even in clinical work. For professionals, engaging with the news media, while understanding and implementing their rules of engagement, can itself become the path of advocacy.
Elana Newman, PhD, is a McFarlin Professor of Psychology at the University of Tulsa, Research Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and Co-Director of the Tulsa Institute of Trauma, Adversity, and Injustice at the University of Tulsa. She has conducted research on a variety of topics regarding the psychological and physical response to traumatic life events, assessment of PTSD in children and adults, journalism and trauma, and understanding the impact of participating in trauma-related research from the trauma survivor’s perspective. She is a past president of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, the world’s premier organization dedicated to trauma treatment, education, research, public policy concerns and theoretical formulation.