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Advanced Trauma Academy

Earlier this year, Ak Child & Family staff and grantees had the opportunity to attend the 5th Annual Alaska Advanced Trauma Training institute, which was hosted by the Alaska Child Trauma Center at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services. A big thank you to these groups, and the Division of Behavioral Health for making this opportunity possible!!

Thursday was filled with data surrounding the impact of trauma in Alaska, followed by breakout sessions surrounding various topics. One of the favorites mentioned by a grantee was about helping children achieve modulation. During this session, she reported learning about various interventions such as drumming and yoga, as well as other easy interventions involving feathers to focus on breathing.

Friday and Saturday were the main attraction, featuring Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. Those who know me know I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Van Der Kolk and his research. I was greatly honored to not only get to hear him speak on such topics as tapping, neurofeedback, and yoga to treat trauma, but I also got to meet him (see below)!. Here are what some other staff and grantees said about the conference, and some of their take aways:

“Being at the conference gave me an opportunity to interact with providers from other agencies around Alaska and learn about the work they are doing, services available, and methods they use to support families. In addition, my interest in trauma recovery and neuroscience was both reinforced and expanded and I am inspired to work with our families to find new pathways to success.”

“The conference was very informative and eye opening on what our youth are going through, and how we can help!”

“What an amazing workshop. It really is all about the brain. You can use neurofeedback to calm down the brain and other interventions such as sensory integration. Trauma breaks rhythm and makes us out of tune with others. It is important to connect traumatized individuals with others.”

“A giggle is a meaningful sound. It is the sound of the pleasure of being in sync with one another.”

“The practical application in many of the sessions gave some real tangibles to return with.”

“I appreciated the time spent gathered together to celebrate the positive direction mental health is headed in. I love the idea of partnering with our clients and combining knowledge, research and lived experiences. I look forward to implementing activities and tools that increase regulation management and awareness in hope of giving those affected by severe trauma the ability to regain control.”

“I learned that yoga is a more effective treatment for trauma than any prescription. I also learned that mindfulness is only helpful if it is used with self compassion. A lack of self compassion is really what keeps the trauma going.”

“You have to get people out of their story and into their body. ‘Notice that’ is an important sentence in psychotherapy that allows you to do this.”


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