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PTSC Newsletter, Issue 1, Spring 2015
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Post Traumatic Stress Center Newsletter
Spring 2015, Issue 1
You are not the trauma! Traumatic events have a way of inserting themselves into the victim’s identity: being raped by a perpetrator turns an ordinary person into a “rape victim.”  Because traumatic events are so intense, victims often begin to view the world and the people around them through the lens of the trauma.

Instead of labeling the perpetration as bad, they view themselves as bad; instead of identifying the perpetrator as dangerous, they perceive people in general as dangerous; instead of recognizing the trauma as only a part of their personal history, the trauma engulfs much of their entire world.  The focus shifts from the perpetrator to the victim.  These distorted perceptions give support to poor self-esteem, social isolation, demoralization, and the loss of meaning in life. 
 
It is therefore important to remember that the perpetrator is the author of the traumatic event: in this sense it is their event, not the victim’s.  The damage done is therefore the responsibility of the perpetrator!  Shifting the focus back onto the perpetrator helps free the victim to pursue their life without the burden of carrying the negative consequences of the traumatic event on their shoulders.  This is how a victim transforms themselves into a survivor, a triumph worth pursuing!
In this Issue

1) Spotlight On Trauma

2) 
Clinician Corner

3) The SHOW Group Performs to a Packed House

4) How to Talk to Children about Anti-Semitism

5) PTSC Joins the Fight Against Human Trafficking

6) Why Volunteering Opens Eyes and Changes Lives


7) A History of the World Trade Center Beam

 

Clinician Corner


Kim Jewers-Dailley, M.A., RDT

Kim Jewers-Dailley is the Director of the School-Based Programs, which includes A.L.I.V.E. She is a registered drama therapist, and has been a clinician at the Center for six years. For more information about the A.L.I.V.E. program visit: http://traumainformedschools.org/

 

What is the ALIVE program?

ALIVE is a preventative, trauma-informed program that works with schools to help reduce the impact of trauma on student well-being and academic performance. Through school-wide, classroom-based, and individual interventions, we provide ongoing opportunities for students to talk about their experiences in a direct and open way.  Schools who have partnered with ALIVE have seen dramatic reductions in school suspensions and classroom disruptions as well as positive strides in the creation of positive school culture where students feel their voices are heard and offered help.

 

What brought you to the Center?

I did my clinical internship training under a psychiatrist in a hospital setting who introduced me to trauma-focused cases. He encouraged me to apply to work here because the complexity of trauma and PTSD leant itself to an interdisciplinary approach where I could blend creative methods.

 

Who do you look up to?

Judy Puglisi, principal at Metropolitan Business Academy, because she understands the negative impact of trauma on our children's educational success and she is committed to overcoming this impact with community partnerships.  Also, her energy and passion for helping every child is contagious!  I am so fortunate to have met Judy 6 years ago when we were just starting the ALIVE program with her and she has been one of our greatest supporters since.

 

How do you self-care?

I love snowboarding and baking. I also de-stress by doing things outdoors like walking my dog.

 

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

I’m Canadian.

 

What do you hope for?

That one day talking about trauma won’t be a thing that only happens behind closed doors, but is something that is addressed as a community. That we recognize that healing can happen in a relational, collective way.

The SHOW Group Performs for a Packed House
     The SHOW Group recently presented a dramatic piece at Sacred Heart University to a standing-room only audience.  Students may have come to get credit, but left touched by the real-life stories of trauma and recovery. Merle Schnayer, performer in the SHOW Group, described the experience, noting: 

 the house was packed and afterwards students came up to thank us with tears in their eyes they were very open and interested.”

      The actors in the SHOW Group are previous clients of the Post Traumatic Stress Center who have concluded their treatment and are dedicated to performing and discussing the impact of trauma and what recovery can look like.  Previous performances have taken place at the Clifford Beers Clinic, Central Connecticut State University, and the University of New Haven. Stay tuned for information on future performances.
How to Talk to Children About Anti-Semitism





Hadar Lubin, MD, Co-Director of the PTSC was recently invited by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven to speak about Contemporary Anti-Semitism on a panel entitled, “Talking with Our Children and Grandchildren about Anti-Semitism.”
 

     Joined by Marji-Lipshez Shapiro, Associate Director of Education of the Anti-Defamation League and moderated by Robyn Teplitzky, Director of Annual Giving at Hamden Hall Country Day School, Dr. Lubin discussed the rise of new forms of anti-semitism such as dividing the Jewish community, boycotting of Israeli scholars, and hate speech on US college campuses. Dr. Lubin has worked as a trainer for many years with the Anti-Defamation League and facilitates the World of Difference Program. To improve the status quo, Dr. Lubin stated,
 
“We must remain vigilant against any form of hatred
 in education and interpersonal relations,
no matter how disguised it is as political discussion
or multicultural tolerance.”
         
     Her speech came at a critical time when aggression against Jews in France and the United States has increased dramatically.
THE PTSC JOINS THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Fueled by both recent news stories in Connecticut and the personal experiences of trafficking of clients, the PTSC has recently joined a local task force of Love146. Issues of raising awareness, advocacy for prevention and appropriate treatment, and fundraising will be addressed regularly by this coalition of treatment providers, educators, students, and individuals impacted by exploitation. Says Christine Mayor, Assistant Clinical Director of the PTSC, "It is critical that we do not simply treat clients after a problem has been discovered, but continue to advocate for systemic changes to address the roots of the problem and provide early intervention for those most vulnerable". 

Human trafficking is defined as any commercial sex act or labor induced by force, fraud, or coercion, often by exploiting those who are underage. There are a total of 20.9 million persons who are enslaved today, and an estimated 100,000 children sex trafficked in the U.S. alone. Dr. Lubin, Co-Director of the PTSC, commented: "We are committed to our growing role in community and public health partnerships, including our future work with this important group". 


Love146 is an international organization committed to the eradication of child trafficking and exploitation. For more information on human trafficking, opportunities to take action, or about the organization, visit their website, www.love146.org
 
Why Volunteering Opens Eyes and Changes Lives
     Long-term volunteer in the ALIVE Program has spoken up about how her experiences working with elementary school children has changed her perspective on learning in urban schools.
     Andrea Ryan, volunteer, stated, “It's one thing to intellectually understand that many children in the New Haven public schools have very difficult lives, and are inculcated with traumatic events, but it is completely different to experience their lives through their own voices and their own stories… once I realized what they were facing every day before they got to school, I wondered how they could ever turn it off so that they could attend to their schoolwork".
     Ryan reflected on her role facilitating classroom and individual conversations with students about chronic trauma, noting that being involved in the program had opened her eyes to the widespread nature of trauma and the critical need to address this problem in the schools. She comments, “By combining my in-class conversations with the information they share in their letters to Miss Kendra, 

 


I am able to glimpse into their lives and then hopefully help them in the moment, so that they can get back to the classroom task. I wish I could change and fix their lives, but in lieu of that I believe I am helping them in a meaningful way.”



      Cat Davis, Volunteer Coordinator, similarly articulated the importance of volunteering in terms of building communities who not only have their eyes open to harm, but are actively working to try and reduce this suffering.

      At present, the ALIVE program has many volunteers working in the schools drawn from University of New Haven, Albertus Magnus, Quinnipiac University, and community advocates. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering for next school year, contact:  cat.davis@ptsdcenter.com

 

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER BEAM
     You may have noticed the steel beam outside the Center. Dr. Johnson acquired the beam in 2006 after an attempt to build a sculpture for firefighters did not pan out. First he called the City of New York, and the official laughed, saying all the steel was gone, except for that being preserved for the memorial. But Dr. Johnson figured it was impossible for 100,000 tons of steel to be sent off to India without some pieces being left behind. After some sleuthing, he found the company that processed most of the steel, and showed up at their doorstep, asking for one 9 foot piece, that preferably had not been bent. At first the manager just looked at him blankly. Then he said that perhaps there was one piece left lying out in the yard. And indeed there was. They agreed to donate it to the Center on one condition: that Dr. Johnson would never reveal where he got it from. 
 A week later, Dr. Johnson drove his rental truck to the site, where the one ton piece was loaded into it, almost upending it. Dr. Johnson asked whether there might be a problem, and the manager said, “Well, it might pop one of the rear tires, in which case the truck will tip over on its side.” Driving 15 miles per hour, for several hours, Dr. Johnson made it back to New Haven, where a foundry prepared it for installation at the Center. The beam is held up by 3 tons of cement, going down 4 feet below street level. Dr. Johnson asked the contractors whether so much was needed. “Depends whether you want the beam to fall over or not,” was the reply, which pretty much ended the conversation! The beam continues to be an inspiration for all of us here at the Center, to never forget the traumatic events our clients have experienced, or the strength that it takes to carry on.


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