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Vicarious Trauma & Resilience: Building Fortitude When Working With Trauma

  • Salisbury Centre 2 Salisbury Road Edinburgh EH16 5AB (map)


“By developing the deep sense of awareness needed to care for ourselves while caring for others and the world around us, we can greatly enhance our potential to work for change, ethically and with integrity” (van Dernoot Lipsky 2009)

If you are involved in activity that includes listening to, witnessing or reading about traumatic events experienced in the lives of others, you participate in encounters that can be profoundly difficult. Understanding, preventing and relieving trauma is a challenge for individuals, groups and organisations.

This is a training day for practitioners and activists to explore the impact of working with trauma and develop strategies to increase resilience and wellbeing. Acknowledging and addressing the reality of our work with trauma and our responses to it can be difficult and it is important that we take care of ourselves in this process, sharing our wisdom and gifts whilst exploring our struggles.

Working from a human rights perspective, this experiential training will draw on a number of psychosocial tools to explore vicarious trauma and resilience. The day's structure is influenced by the work of Judith Herman. We will use her three-stage model of trauma recovery; establishing safety, remembrance and mourning and reconnection as a guide for exploring our collective and individual narratives towards developing our resilience and fortitude when working with trauma.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the day participants will be able to:

  • Define Trauma and Vicarious Trauma

  • Explore basic concepts of the Neuroscience of trauma

  • Recognise signs of struggle in response to trauma

  • Reflect on their personal power in relation to their wellbeing and explore the structural factors which impact on their choices

  • Describe boundaries, roles and responsibilities when working with trauma

  • Develop strategies for growing their personal fortitude and resilience in response to working with trauma

Some feedback from previous participants of this training:

'It was participatory, engaging, theoretically informed and professionally delivered'

'Thank you for today, I feel strengthened by hearing others experience of VT and working with trauma, helping me to break the silence of feeling pain from being close to others' pain'

'The best part of the training - the flow of the day, it never felt forced or prescriptive'

We will provide a certificate of attendance for participants

About the Venue

The Salisbury centre is a lovely venue in Edinburgh - We will be using the Studio for the training day. Please be aware that the Salisbury centre requests that we remove our shoes to go into this room. We will also have access to a kitchen, library room and large garden. We are told that the garden shall be in bloom with daffodils in April.

Have a look on their website if you'd like more information.

About Mandala Consultants Facilitators:

Norma McKinnon Fathi is a UKCP Registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist and a qualified Community Worker. Norma has 20 years’ experience working with vulnerable people who have experienced trauma including survivors of childhood sexual abuse, childhood neglect, violence, conflict and torture. For the past 11 years her clinical work has been with survivors of torture and she previously managed psychological services at a national charity. Norma works in private practice and is a co-founder at Mandala Consultants.

Elise Marshall is a person-centred counsellor, supervisor and trainer and a registered, accredited member of BACP. Elise is also a professional massage therapist and qualified yoga teacher. She has over 14 years working with survivors of trauma including with those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence, domestic abuse and torture. For ten years she worked as a psychological therapist with survivors of torture for a national charity where she also designed and delivered training. Elise is an honorary lecturer at Glasgow University School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing. Elise also has a small private practice as a counsellor, supervisor, yoga teacher and massage therapist as well as providing long term counselling for a small charity working with male adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. She is a co-founder of Mandala Consultants.

Cost: £105