14th annual event

Keele Counselling (Research and Practice) Conference

Conference Theme: 'Working With Trauma'.

The Keele Counselling and Psychotherapy team warmly welcomes researchers, practitioners, and students who have an interest in issues related to working with Trauma. We have four interesting and inspiring keynote speakers - John Radoux on Developmental Trauma, Sushila Dhall on Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Refugees and Asylum seekers, Dr Aileen Alleyne on Intergenerational Trauma and Black Identity Wounding, and Daniel Morrison on Trauma and the Wheel of Consent.

To book your place at this conference, click here.

Developmental Trauma

Developmental trauma can occur when our relationships, in the first years of life, are regularly frightening, abusive or neglectful. Because these experiences happen when a child is first learning about the world, and their brain is developing, without the right help and care they can have a significant long-term impact on social, emotional and mental health. Developmental trauma can also affect physical health and a child’s ability to learn new information or skills.

This presentation will explore the types of early years experiences which can lead to developmental trauma, the impact this can have on the neurobiology of the brain and, using personal and professional anecdotes, what trauma ‘looks like’ in the real world – many of the effects of developmental trauma can be seen as understandable, indeed necessary, adaptations to circumstance.

There will also be discussion of what is required to help people recover from early years relational trauma - with consideration given to neurosequential development and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. John is sceptical of current notions of individualised resilience, believing it can locate wider societal problems in individuals, and put too much responsibility for their own recovery on those who have experienced abuse. He will use the phrase, “stable, ongoing relationships” throughout the presentation.

John Radoux, MBACP, is a child psychotherapeutic counsellor, trainer and writer. He trained at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education and provides therapy for children and young people at a local counselling service, and in schools, on a freelance basis. John has worked directly with children and young people, who have experienced trauma, for over 16 years, in various roles, in residential children’s homes - including 5 years at a specialist therapeutic community. Alongside this, for over 10 years he has provided training for children’s social care staff, foster carers and local authorities on topics including developmental trauma, attachment, self-harm, and therapeutic thinking.

He is a regular writer for Community Care magazine on issues related to children in care and has contributed to the BACP CYPF Journal. He is an active campaigner and authored a letter, signed by 632 experts in children’s social care, calling for an independent review of the children’s social care system. John, who grew up in care, continues to work part-time, as a carer, in a local children’s home.

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Refugees and Asylum seekers

A small percentage of asylum seekers flee to the UK (or end up in the UK) seeking sanctuary. What is it that makes people flee their homes and countries and what are their journeys like? What is life like when you come to the UK seeking asylum? In this speech I look at complex post-traumatic stress disorder, how it is caused, and how we work therapeutically, despite the ‘hostile environment’, towards healing and integration.

Sushila Dhall, (MA, MSt Oxford) is educated to UKCP level and has been practising for over 20 years, including working privately, for the NHS, and for the third sector. For the past 16 years she has worked for Refugee Resource in Oxford, doing cross-cultural counselling and psychotherapy with survivors of war, torture and societal breakdown. For 12 of these years she managed and expanded the Psychotherapy Service, but now works on giving trainings, lectures, supervision and workshops. Before becoming a psychotherapist Sushila worked for 10 years with homeless and street people in Oxford, and was a Green Party local politician for 14 years. She likes to write, walk by the sea, and garden, and enjoys giving trainings and talks with a view to disseminating as much learning as possible before retirement. Sushila is also an environmental activist.

Intergenerational Trauma and Black Identity Wounding

The systematic dehumanization of African slaves was the initial trauma, and since that time, generations of their descendants have borne the scars. Black people of all cultural and ethnic persuasions have not been speared the effects of this collective malady. Black British (includes Africans, Caribbeans, black of mixed parentage and others who are discriminated against because of the colour of their skin) as members of this racial collective, are slowly recognising the crucial work of having to face the ever important challenge of knowing that real recovery from this ongoing trauma - which is perpetually compounded by present day forms of racism - is to start from within. The nature of the work of transcending from intergenerational trauma is such that each group must first see to their own healing, because no group can do another’s work. This talk will elucidate unheeded dimensions of this area of trauma and highlight key challenges for both client and practitioner from a psychotherapeutic perspective.

Dr Aileen Alleyne is a UKCP registered psychodynamic psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and organisational consultant. In addition to running her private practice in East Sussex and South East London, she is a visiting lecturer at several training institutions and a consultant on issues of race and cultural diversity within various workplace settings, such as the NHS, Social Services, Education and the Police Services. Her clinical research, examining black workers’ experiences in three institutional settings, makes a significant contribution to the discourse on race. Highlighting the concept of ‘the internal oppressor’, it offers ways of deepening understanding of black psychological reactions to the negative impact of racism. 

Aileen is the author of several book chapters and journal papers exploring themes on black/white dynamics, shame and identity wounding, and working with issues
of Difference and Diversity in the workplace. She is currently writing her first book on Trans/ Intergenerational Trauma.

Trauma and the Wheel of Consent

How does a trauma history impact on the ability to give consent? How do power dynamics affect the making of agreements when we interact? Is it possible to unpick the tangles of privilege, past trauma, marginalisation and assumptions to have clear, consensual negotiation? How do we interact with clients, and how do our clients interact with the world, when trauma responses are active or present in potential in the nervous system? How do we hold our own histories and experiences as therapists, and regulate ourselves in the room?

In this talk we'll explore different ways of interacting with clients in the context of Betty Martin's Wheel of Consent. We'll consider the ways in which trauma responses, developed for protection and survival, affect interactions long after the immediate danger has passed. We'll explore some ways of working with clients to build their awareness of their triggers and boundaries, and their somatic experience of consent in their bodies. We'll briefly examine the power dynamic inherent in the therapist / client dyad and how this affects our working relationship and the agreements we make, and look at how individual intersections of privilege and oppression colour our experience of the world, the experience of our clients, and the places we meet and miss one another.

Daniel Morrison is a therapist qualified primarily in person centred counselling but drawing on other modalities to create a holistic approach. He has an interest in working with trauma through somatic experiencing, and supporting clients to understand and regulate their nervous system. He specialises in working with issues around Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversity and has recently contributed to a forthcoming book on GSRD in Gestalt Therapy. He's passionate about making therapy accessible to everyone who needs it, particularly those from marginalised groups, and offers counselling on a voluntary basis for the LGBT Foundation in Manchester, as well as seeing private clients. He also runs workshops and events where participants explore their relationship to connection, intimacy, consent and boundaries. He's trained in facilitating workshops based on Betty Martin's Wheel of Consent and enjoys holding group spaces which enable participants to experience openness and vulnerability in safety. For more information about his work, see danielmorrisoncounselling.co.uk, or Q Changes on Facebook.

Call for papers and workshops

We very much encourage all those who feel they have something interesting to say, in response to the theme of the conference, to submit an abstract for a paper or a workshop.
Paper presentations will be 15 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions.
Workshops will be for 90 minutes.

How to submit your abstract:

Please download the counselling abstract submission form
When you have completed the form, please send it, via email, to Jens Bakewell j.a.bakewell@keele.ac.uk
The deadline for the submission of abstracts is: by midday on Tuesday, 14th April 2020
You will receive confirmation as to whether or not your paper, workshop or poster has been accepted by: 5pm on 17th April 2020.