Campus News

DSU Trauma Academy Hosts Virtual Panel on Trauma Treatment in Action

Faith Lambert

On June 8, 2021, Delaware State University’s Trauma Academy hosted a virtual panel from 6-7:30p.m. to bring awareness and aid, in-order to recover from trauma.

The flyer for the event emphasized “Effective support requires expanding the concept of trauma-informed care by putting it into ACTION.”The keynote speakers were Varleisha Gibbs PhD, OTD, OTR/L and Nikki Harley, the authors of Trauma Treatment in Action: Over 85 Activities to Move Clients Toward Healing, Growth, and Improved Functioning, a book which will be released on June 15, 2021.

The Trauma Academy Coordinator at Delaware State University, Kim M. Graham, M.A., moderated the event which was organized to help recognize any trauma along with “the signs and symptoms that exist in those you serve whether as clients or students,” as it is written on the attached flyer. The book Trauma Treatment in Action: Over 85 Activities to Move Clients Toward Healing, Growth and Improved Functioning, goes into further detail. Trauma is not limited to a certain category of people; in fact, it is for everyone. For no one is excluded from experiencing trauma in life, whether it be physical or mental. We all process things differently and, although our traumas may not be the same, they show through similar patterns and signs.

According to Varleisha Gibbs, “Senses become triggers for you in your everyday life, so if we don’t address that trauma, it is easily available to relive those experiences as if we were there right at that moment that we experienced the trauma.” Dr Gibbs then goes on to elaborate that “the approach… looks at expanding, going beyond just being informed… to now how can we move towards action”.

Virtual Panel Participants

An example that author Nikki Harley gave is that “people of color communities race trauma and racism are inexplicably linked; these experiences are lived experiences, especially in these communities. Our individual and collective experiences though different have resulted in these communities learning to adapt and to thrive and to strive in climates that are often inhospitable”.

 Also, to highlight that everyone has experienced social trauma recently with COVID-19.Knowing that trauma is very much real is the first steps, but the authors have emphasized that action is followed immediately after. Author Nikki Harley said “Action oriented interventions is how we can create sanctuary spaces in our environments… ensuring the individuals in our environment are safe, they are heard, they are seen, and we are creating a constant feedback group and constant improvement”.

Although there are many action steps to take, Dr. Gibbs spoke on a few, saying: “The first thing you can do is communication; we must change our language and our personal biases instead of neglecting our previous training, we must expand our view… replace the language with statements of empathy, respect, gratitude, and growth… we must focus on person first not the trauma that happened to them. The individuals are resilient and have strengths that supersede their trauma, so deemphasizing their trauma. Advocacy, attending extensive workshops, and trainings, is just the beginning not an ending. Reading this book is just the start, the real work is in advocacy at every level.”

The attendees were also provided with handouts and visual charts. There are several layers to trauma being that there are different variations from physical trauma, to complex trauma, to inter generational trauma, to social and cultural trauma.

Authors Varleisha Gibbs and Nikki Gibbs have made it easier for others to be able to acknowledge trauma, create growth, teach neuron-education, highlight inter generational factors, involve organizations and systems re-trauma action, and lastly take action.

The link to order Trauma Treatment in Action: Over 85 Activities to Move Clients Toward Healing, Growth and Improved Functioning, is

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