Fairfield University marriage and family therapists open a dialogue with the public on trauma


It can happen anytime, anywhere and it happens with more frequency than we realize. Everyday, trauma impacts the lives of millions, whether it is a grandmother in Libya, a soldier returning from Afghanistan or a child in Bridgeport and the after-effects are life altering for the victims and often for those who love, work or come in contact with them.

Dr. Anibal Torres, assistant professor of marriage and family therapy at Fairfield University's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions and Dr. Diana Mille, a marriage and family therapist and graduate of Fairfield's marriage and family therapy master's program, continue the University focus on Global Citizenship with a lecture and the initiation of a community dialogue centered around "Healing from the Injustices of Trauma: Developing Accessible and Inclusive Goals for Individuals, Couples and Families Around the World" on Monday, April 4 at 4 p.m. at the Quick Center for the Arts' Wien Experimental Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

"We will argue for the need to find better ways to recognize, diagnose and treat trauma - specifically psychological trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - in individuals, couples and families in diverse cultures and in special populations, such as combat," said Mille, who is also director of the Walsh Art Gallery.

Trauma is the fifth most common psychiatric disorder and researchers believe it is the number one cause of suicide. However, trauma-related ailments are also considered under-recognized, under-diagnosed and under-treated across various cultural groups.

With this lecture, Torres and Mille, invite the public, colleagues and students to share perceptions and engage in a dialogue with the professors that will begin the process of defining trauma, discussing its impact and considering symptoms, diagnosis, assessment and treatment methods with a constant eye on the most easily accessible and inclusive means for healing trauma.

While Mille acknowledges that clinicians, researchers and students of psychology and therapy will find the presentation of interest in the abstract, she welcomes the personal perceptions of members of the community who may be living through scenarios that will be discussed. "In order to penetrate the curtain of silence that we researchers and practitioners see in our work and studies, we rely on those who are experiencing distress to point us in new directions that will expand our work and ultimately help us all to recognize and engage people who have been traumatized."

The presentation is adapted from one Torres and Mille will deliver at the International Family Therapy Association's XIX World Family Therapy Conference in the Netherlands from March 30 to April 2. It will consider the efficacy of several screenings, assessment and evaluation tools, and treatments and therapies.

This initial event is designed to help engage students in long-term, multifaceted, and meaningful discussions in both local and international communities through their research, lectures, and publications.

For more information, call Dr. Mille at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2975. For information on Fairfield's slate of Global Citizenship events, visit www.fairfield.edu/global.

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Posted on March 9, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 229