Trauma, according to the American Psychological Association, is an emotional response to a terrible event such as an accident, rape or natural disaster.
Longer-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea. In some cases, long-term effects can cause post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition which can affect 10 percent of women and 5 percent of men over the course of the lifespan.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, physical trauma accounts for 42 million emergency room visits per year and 30 percent of all life years lost in the United States. Victims of violence or accidents, returning soldiers and people who witness abuse, violence or death are all at risk for trauma symptoms. Additionally, stress, ranging from high to low levels, mimics similar physiological symptoms.
Trauma is something that the NIU community is all too familiar with, having experienced the events of Feb. 14, 2008.
On Friday, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 15, the NIU Counseling Program will address trauma head on, hosting a two-day colloquium workshop with David Berceli, an international expert in trauma intervention and founder and CEO of Trauma Releasing Exercises.
In the two day workshop held at the DeKalb campus, Berceli will teach students the principles of stress/trauma and the mind/body connection. He will explain “trauma release exercise” techniques and how to apply them to professional work.
With the rise in the number of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, climbing violence statistics, the high-stress nature of modern life and careers and cultural awareness of the mind/body connection, trauma and stress is prevalent in the world.
The workshop is free and open to all; it is especially invaluable to those entering the mental health, allied health, nursing and education professions. Pre-registration is required. Participants can register online or by email at [email protected].
The colloquium will include both physical traumas – sports injuries, accidents, etc. – as well as psycho-emotional traumas such as divorce or abuse, Berceli said.
“It will be both didactic and experiential. A series of exercises will be explained and then practiced by participants. The exercises are designed to activate a neurophysiological mechanism in the human organism that allows for the release of unresolved emotions as well as musculoskeletal tensions due to past stressful or traumatic events,” Berceli said. “A brief power point presentation with videos will be presented and then participants will perform a series of six exercises to engage in a personal body experience.”
Finally, he said, a question-and-answer period will allow the participants’ personal bodily experiences to become part of the workshop content that will complete the didactic portion of the workshop. These exercises accommodate most physical limitations.
“We’re very excited to be hosting Dr. Berceli this semester thanks to the assistance of the Graduate School; the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education; Northern Illinois University Counseling Association; and Chi Sigma Iota,” said Amanda Balsamo, chair of the colloquium committee and the vice president of the NIU Counseling Association.
“We anticipate this is going to be a valuable experience for many of the helping professionals and helping professionals in training on campus. We hope that many will take advantage of this unique training opportunity.”
Seven Continuing Education Units will be provided through the National Board of Certified Counselors. The Northern Illinois University Counseling Program is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and can offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.
For more information, email [email protected].