Building Trauma Aware Communities 

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Sponsored by Collectively Rooted


The power of traumatic events over our lives is largely determined by how we respond to them. If we feel safe and secure in our support systems, we are better able to recover from a traumatic experience – these systems of support come from resilience within ourselves and acceptance, security, and safety from our family and community. This lecture series aims to examine trauma at a foundational level and discuss its consequences to consider how we, as a community, can help our members be resilient against and recover from the overwhelming experiences we all encounter. 


Bessel van der Kolk, MD
Foundations of Trauma

Trauma is pervasive. We have all experienced and been witness to it and we may not fully grasp the power it has in our lives and the lives of those around us. Understanding where it comes from and how and why it impacts us is a critical component of building healthy, engaged communities. Join us to hear from Bessel van der Kolk and grow your understanding of trauma’s origins and intergenerational impacts. 


  • Discuss developmental trauma and intergenerational trauma
  • Explain what trauma is and how it impacts differently at different stages of development 
  • Discuss the nature of traumatic memories
  • Explain how the attachment system affects the processing of traumatic experiences
  • Describe how children process trauma and how the attachment bond cultivates resilience
  • Identify how trauma affects physical health and immune function.

Neuroscience and the Frontiers of Trauma Treatment

The brain is responsible for how we see the world and how the world sees us. We have learned that trauma impacts the brain, but how exactly and what are the implications of those impacts? We will explore the brain’s parts together to orient ourselves, discuss what neuroscience tells us about how overwhelming experiences shape and change our brain function, and approach the idea that we can repair the damage trauma does to the brain.


  • Identify the basics of the brain circuitry involved in self-experience, salience, and executive functioning, and how these are impacted by trauma
  • Describe how the polyvagal theory is relevant to clinical practice
  • Demonstrate how rhythms, synchronicity, and movement are critical for normal functioning and their role in healing from trauma
  • Explain basic features of normative brain development

Deran Young, LCSW
Examining Our Biases

Despite the recent increase in dialogue regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, we still have a long way to go in addressing the traumatic effects of the racism (police brutality, mass incarceration, education and economic wealth gaps) that we see in the world today. Rather than staying stuck in pain, guilt, shame or defensiveness, it’s important to recognize that we all have unconscious bias that stems from traumatized fear based “parts” of us that took on protective thoughts, feelings and behaviors during our early years of social conditioning. Additionally, research documents that racism creates significant physical and mental health disparities for people of color, as well as an overall reduced quality of life. 

As a result of attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Uncover negative beliefs, attitudes, and systemic barriers faced by historically marginalized communities
  • Explore collective legacy burdens related to race, class, and gender and examine how these impact us individually, relationally, and systemically.
  • Examine the concept of microaggressions and how they occur in our everyday lives.
  • Develop tools and strategies to counteract microaggressions and systemic oppression on an personal and collective level  

Linda Thai, LMSW, ERYT-200, CLYL
Stuck in Survival

Trauma can force us to develop strategies to help us survive what we experienced. 

These actions of survival and truncated actions of survival get stuck inside the nervous system and, as we now know, the body keeps the score. Our biography becomes our biology. And then our biology informs our current and future biography. The strategies that kept us alive can keep us from fully living. 

By learning to recognize and safely release the tension patterns of these survival responses, we can manage anxiety and overthinking, emotional flooding, and overwhelm. New choices become available for the neuro-muscular system, which can allow us to cultivate self-awareness around past behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. 

In this presentation psychologists and psychotherapists will learn how the cascade of tension and immobilization related to the ocular sympathetic/collapsed parasympathetic response can be addressed to facilitate enhanced treatment outcomes, including capacity for bottom-up self-regulation, expanded window of tolerance, and interoceptive awareness.


  • Discuss trauma and addictive processes within the context of polyvagal theory and hyper- and hypo-arousal (Window of Arousal model). 
  • List  bottom-up strategies to facilitate self-regulation, which is foundational to all aspects of addiction recovery and trauma recovery. 
  • Critique ocular activation exercises for the orienting response, and ocular tension release exercises, as well as whole body orienting responses to facilitate client safeness. 
  • Apply somatic techniques can help to release autonomic tension patterns and facilitate interoceptive awareness.

TaLisa Ramos, MSW, LSW, CCTP-I
Healing Me to Healing Us: Cultivating a Community of Collective Growth and Resilience

For centuries, collectivist societies have infused group engagement, relationship building, and holistic support to heal not only individuals, but entire communities. Communal healing provides us the opportunities of connection, validation, resource sharing, as well as collective action to challenge systemic issues, catalyze change efforts, and improve overall well-being. Many theoretical approaches to mental health and healing are through individual efforts, and community is viewed as separate. This session will challenge this ideation, and look to shift our current healing narrative to not only center the individual, but to include the healing of the collective for greater chances of recovery and sustainability. We will explore how strategic and intentional communal healing efforts are essential for both individual and collective growth. By creating tools and strategies for collective healing, we cultivate resilience and together create a path from surviving to thriving.


Participants will 

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the importance of connection, relationship building, and inclusion in healing both individual and communal past traumas
  • identify 3 tools to engage in collective healing such as processing group narratives, communal story-telling, collective emotional expression, and cultural engagement
  • Examine theoretical frameworks and communal strategies to cultivate holistic and sustainable community growth

Continuing Education Credits

Residents of Pennsylvania who successfully complete this program and associated quiz will receive a certificate of completion and the ability to be listed in the Resilient Community directory where members of our community can search to find resources. You will receive additional information at the close of the program. 

ACCME, ANCC, APA, ASWB, ACPE and ADA Continuing Education credits are available at the close of the program for a fee. You must complete all lessons associated with the program to qualify for CE credits. For more details about continuing education credits Click Here. To purchase CE Credits, you will need to visit Collectively Rooted. CE is $30 for 7.5 credits.

Please watch each module of the course below and complete the associated quiz.