Refugee individuals and families carry with them vulnerability, potential post-traumatic stress, as well as strengths and stories of resilience. This workshop provides an overview of the way trauma affects individuals and families emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually. A framework which describes different stages in the process of regulating and resolving the impact of trauma is reviewed, while protective steps for enhancing helper wellbeing will also be provided. Participants will learn key principles and strategies for working with refugees and trauma, and be better equipped to enhance refugees’ capacities to recover, adapt, and flourish in the next phase of their lives.

Some of the Topics Reviewed

  • When is a Person Traumatized?
  • Types of Trauma – Developmental, Shock, Relational, Intergenerational
  • Definitions of Post-Traumatic Impact
  • Trauma – Immediate Symptoms and Impact
  • Longer-Term Impacts of Trauma
  • The Impact of Trauma on the Body and the Brain
  • The Role of Memory in Trauma and Healing
  • Strategies for Moving into Regulated States
  • Tools for Emotion Regulation
  • Helping Someone Who is Dissociating
  • Treating Trauma Over Time
  • Safety and Stabilization
  • Separating the Past from the Present and Future
  • Reconnection and Resilience
  • Considerations of Impact and Coping for Refugees

Target Audience

This is an intermediate level workshop intended for social service and health care professionals, counsellors, social workers, school personnel, and anyone working to support refugees.

Method of Delivery

Presentation, video, case study exercises, personal reflection, and small group discussions.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Define trauma and understand the possible variations of its potential impact
  • Identify refugee experiences that can lead to trauma or to increased resilience
  • Describe how traumatic experiences contribute to post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Summarize capacities that increase resilience for refugee individuals and families
  • List signs of vicarious trauma for helpers and steps for prevention