by Annette Conway, Psy.D.
On October 2nd, 2017, Americans woke up to the horror of one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. This was, and continues to be a stark reminder of how often we have witnessed similar tragedies unfold in recent times. Among the many who experience vicarious trauma from such events are helping professionals, including (but not limited to) paramedics, police officers, physicians, nurses, lawyers, social workers, and psychologists who work with the victims and their loved ones. We often focus on our professional responsibilities by listening to our clients recall traumatic experiences, which in turn may affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Working with trauma survivors can shift our beliefs about the world as a meaningful and safe place. One way we can reduce the risk of vicarious traumatization is to ensure we are taking time for self-care. Avoiding isolation and connecting with professionals who understand the experience of working with trauma is helpful, as in maintain a healthy lifestyle consisting of exercise, healthy eating, meditation, yoga, spending time with loved ones, listening to music, taking time off from one’s practice, and, so forth.
The 2017 SDPA Fall Conference entitled, Innovations in Trauma Treatment: What’s Outside the Box? is another helpful resource in understanding trauma, helping those affected by trauma, and preventing trauma contagion. We have 19 distinguished speakers and 20 exhibitors, along with activities such as yoga, massage, live music, a book raffle table, exhibitor Bingo, and a casual networking buffet lunch. Dr. Bonnie Goldstein, a senior trainer of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and Dr. Constance Dalenberg, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Alliant University, will be the Keynote Speakers. We welcome you and look forward to offering you a stimulating agenda of continuing education, professional development and networking opportunities.
The Holiday Party/SDPA Awards Ceremony/Installation of the 2018 Board of Directors will be held on Sunday, December 10, 2017. The event is Free to all members and one guest, with the purpose of enhancing our professional and social networks. Giving the awards is a way SDPA can recognize and encourage excellence in the mental health field, as well as build better relationships with the community at large. The Awards that will be presented are as follows:
- Distinguished Contribution to Psychology
- Volunteer of the Year
- Media Award
- Legislative Award
- Fellows Award
We would love to see you there.
In continuing with the theme of trauma and its treatment, our last issue of the year will address some of the pressing issues in our country right now. We would like to feature articles that talk about the role of mental health professionals in disaster relief efforts and helping fellow Americans cope with these uncertain political times. Thank you to those who have already contributed. We hope to hear from more of you, soon.
Dr. Conway is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the President of the San Diego Psychological Association.