The Matlen-Andersen Fund sponsors annual day-long workshops on clinical work with trauma survivors, reaching successive classes of future psychologists, UConn professors and staff from the counseling center and across disciplines, and professionals from the community. Besides the annual on-campus conference, funds are used to send doctoral students to academic and clinical trainings on trauma, expand the trauma library in the UConn Psychological Services Clinic, award scholarships, and purchase therapeutic tools.
Jessica Wozniak, Psy.D., a nationally recognized trainer in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the most rigorously tested treatment for trauma in children.
Dr. Wozniak’s approach is sensitive to the overwhelming effects of trauma on young minds and its impact on family dynamics. Wozniak reminds us that play is the multi-sensory language of children. It is intrinsically motivating, associated with positive emotions and is a vehicle to build relationships. During the conference, she addressed safety, relaxation and how to use play in the therapy room to process stressful experiences, promote impulse control and learn social skills through techniques like writing storybooks, creating videos and drawing. In addition, Dr. Wozniak explored how to work collaboratively with supportive caregivers to help children process and share their traumatic experience. Her extensive knowledge of trauma recovery shone through in the many examples of healing she shared. Best known for her work with younger populations, her creative techniques can also have broader applications for traumatized adolescents and adults who harbor wounded children within.
Janina Fisher, Ph.D. presenting Working with Complex Trauma & Dissociation: Borderline Personality, Unsafe Behavior, and Dissociative Disorders in 2018.
[Traditionally,] “psychotherapist training programs provide little information on traumatic attachment, or on how undiagnosed trauma-related fragmentation or splitting can complicate straightforward resolution of trauma, or on the treatment of dissociative disorders as one of a constellation of trauma-related disorders…the mindfulness approach and the attribution of each and every symptom to parts create[s] “breathing space” that allow[s] clients to be curious about these parts, less afraid, even to feel empathy for them.”
From: Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors, 2017.
Laurie Pearlman, Ph.D. presenting Complex Trauma: Essential Topics in Healing and Recovery in 2016
“It was amazing to see the nodding heads, sighs of relief, and other expressions of recognition. But there were also a few colleagues who misheard us as blaming survivor clients for the impact of the work on the therapist. I believe that the very empathic connection with our clients both allows them to recover and opens us to vicarious trauma. But this empathic connection is also a bridge to our own deepening humanity, a phenomenon that I have termed vicarious transformation. So vicarious trauma is not anyone’s fault. It’s an occupational hazard, and one that can be a doorway to a new level of personal experience.”
From: “Interview with Dr. Laurie Anne Pearlman” at the Traumatic Stress Institute about Vicarious Traumatization
Ervin Staub, Ph.D.: Overcoming Evil: Genocide and Other Group Violence
“Forgiveness, when it happens, is usually progressive. It can reduce the distress of people who were harmed and make revenge less likely. But one-sided forgiveness can further reduce the status of victims, and lead to additional harmful action against them. The ideal is mutuality, harm doers acknowledging their actions, showing regret and empathy. This, together with healing and other processes contributes to mutual acceptance—which is reconciliation.”
From: Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict, and Terrorism, 2010
Christine Courtois, Ph.D.: Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach
“If the therapist understands and does not take mistrust as personal affront, the therapeutic relationship can evolve gradually. The client can begin to recognize that the therapist actually “gets” why he or she is initially skeptical, self-protective, or “realistically paranoid” and does not pressure the client to be a “happy camper” but instead works to earn trust by being honorable, reliable, and consistent. This also implies a view of the client’s initial mistrust as expectable in light of the client’s history – that is, as a strength rather than as a deficiency or pathology.”
Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach, 2012.
COMING IN 2020:
An expert in Dissociative Identity Disorder
Off-Campus Training Opportunities
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy for PTSD at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Fall 2016
- Frontiers of Trauma Treatment at the Cape Cod Institute, Summer 2016
- Psychological Trauma: Neuroscience, Self-Identity and Therapeutic Interventions at the Justice Resource Institute 27th Annual International Trauma Conference, Summer 2016
- From Ferguson to Flint – Multicultural Competencies for Community Based Trauma at the Columbia University Teachers College Winter Roundtable on Cultural Psychology and Education, Spring 2017
- Urban Trauma Workshop held by the Integrated Wellness Group, Spring 2018
Stipends and Scholarships
From 2015-2018, the Matlen-Andersen Fund awarded $10,000 in scholarships to support students who demonstrated an interest and talent for trauma work. Additionally, $6,000 in stipends has been earned by students for assisting with the annual conferences, the trauma library and the creation of the website.
Graduate Student Testimonials:
In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that due to the training experience I had as a result of that funding — which I surely could not have afforded without it — it literally changed my life. It not only captured my intellectual interest and moved me emotionally, it spoke to me as a genuine need in the world that has been and continues to be inadequately addressed.
Thank you for affording us a once-in-a-lifetime and truly life-changing experience to learn about PTSD treatment from living legends in the field. The knowledge that I have gained from this training has inspired me to actively pursue opportunities to help trauma survivors.
“The Matlen-Andersen Fund and the department’s dedication to producing trauma-informed clinicians and researchers was one of the reasons I felt UConn’s program was a good fit for my training.”
“Since trauma is incredibly pervasive, I think annual training is so valuable, particularly within graduate education.”
“Trainings that boost our understanding of how trauma can be so pervasive and so important to address are essential for producing effective future clinicians.”
You have… changed a part of my clinical practice by raising my awareness of dissociation.