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Reflections on the Pandemic, Covid 19 and Trauma

Wimbledon Guild Counselling Training Conference 2022 a 6 hour Zoom CPD event with Lorna Evans, Dr Aileen Alleyne and Professor Brett Kahr

Online conference held over the ZOOM platform

Please note events are live stream only they are not recorded

All tickets are £70 +booking fees - sales end 8am on Saturday 12th March or when sold out

This conference for counsellors, social workers and other health professionals

About this event:

Chair: Lorna Evans

Speakers: Lorna Evans, Dr Aileen Alleyne, Professor Brett Kahr

Timetable:

10am welcome from the chair

10.10am- 11.10am

Dr Aileen Alleyne - Unheeded Dimensions of Covid-19 Pandemic: Trauma impact on an island people

including 10mins Q&A

11.10-11.20am- break

11.20- 12:20pm-Lorna Evans – – including 10mins Q&A

12:20- 1pm- lunch break 1pm-2pm

Professor Brett Kahr- Unmuzzling experts while curing “covidiots” how psychotherapists can prevent the next pandemic

including 10mins Q&A

2pm-2.10pm break

2.10pm-3pm plenary

The presentations

Lorna Evans: How are you healing? Exploring the Mind Body conflict in 2022

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you
everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”
E.E Cummings

Trauma occurs when choice is taken away from us. As humans we need choice to self regulate, feel safe, create coping strategies and thrive. Self regulation is essential for our sense of agency, positive self esteem and wellbeing. We find equilibrium through the gentle rhythms of eye contact, smiling, crying, talking, hearing, laughing, hugging and unconsciously regulating the breath.

At the time of our conference, it will be two years since the Coronavirus pandemic arrived. These choices were taken away from us and the Mind & Body conflict returned front and centre. Our bodies were reduced to simple data and morbid statistics while new laws were being passed based on weak science and bad strategy. It was all about how best to manage the political risk of the data.

The impact and risk to our minds and mental health was removed from the headlines with little effort made to communicate the potential risks these decisions would have. Driven by a narrative of fear; history has proven that if you scare people enough they will do whatever you say with no questions asked, and by isolating, splitting and silencing people, that is what happened.

Our bodies, once a subject of private and intimate conversation we chose to disclose with a trusted few, became fodder for public consumption. Commonplace conversations such as talking about the weather were replaced with talk of vaccines, who had had one, which one did they have and how did it make them feel. Previously, it would have been unthinkable to question someone about what contraceptives they were taking for example, but the boundaries had been removed. Our bodies and what we choose to do with them are no longer private.

The speaker feels that as a result of this tension between the Mind & Body, we’re now waiting for the next pandemic to arrive. We know it is coming, a tsunami of mental and physical illness across all generations; children, young people, the elderly, caused by the dysregulation of a human race who had a primal need to feel safe.

Our community is playing a front line role in this healing wave. However, as the world changed. We have changed. The speaker will encourage you to pause, breathe and reflect on who you are now? How have you changed? What do you need to positively regulate and heal? How do you now integrate choice into your work, to comfortably sit with your authentic self? Rather than colluding with what a therapist “should” look or be like.

We are now addressing the lack of diversity within our profession. When using the term diversity, at the time of writing, the speaker is referring to people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds, different genders, sexual orientations, ages and those with a hidden or physical disability. In doing so our community is starting to address the social issues raised by the movements Me Too, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ and the systemic misuse of power, privilege and rank in society. My hope is that we become more interesting, vibrant and relevant to people seeking therapy.

Dr Aileen Alleyne - Unheeded Dimensions of Covid-19 Pandemic: Trauma impact on an island people

Winston Churchill’s famous and most memorable English quote has kept alive a British sense of pride in being invincible and unbeatable in character. Churchill’s quote is regularly revisited to reignite the good old bulldog spirit for a preparedness to meet any perceived threat to Britain‘s unique sense of its own greatness. The stirring quote protects this island’s literal and psychological borders.

“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”.

The unannounced arrival of the Coronavirus in April 2020, with its ferocious and infectious nature, sneaked across this island borders with the ease of an invisible potent intruder. Britain, like the rest of the world, was caught completely off guard by the stealth of this silent danger. The enormous magnitude of its destruction was like the power of no other invader. The big disease with a little name (Covid) remains the apparent enemy no volume of Churchillian bombast can defeat. Re-grouping from the last year’s devastating impact remains our most obvious and pervasive challenge. However, the speaker feels there is an unheeded dimension to the island phenomenon that has been overlooked within the Covid discourse. Aileen will share her perceived sense of a distinctive collective trauma that has impacted the British psyche – one that is propped up by historical and Imperial internalisations of being an unbeatable and indestructible power. Perhaps a tale of David and Goliath..., aka David [Covid] versus The World? In this presentation the speaker will address areas of psychic rupture and psychological injury occurring within the quieter realms of an invincible collective unconscious and highlight some unique trauma responses acted out in response to, and the re-emergence from dislocation.


Professor Brett Kahr- Unmuzzling experts while curing “covidiots” how psychotherapists can prevent the next pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the most extraordinary range of human behaviours from those of cautious and thoughtful people who have treated this global emergency in a serious fashion to those, by contrast – including many world leaders – who have become overwhelmed with denial and, often, dissociation, comporting themselves like ostriches with heads in the sand.

Most psychotherapists will have encountered a similarly broad palate of behaviours among our clients, many of whom cared for themselves and for their loved ones with vigilance, while others – often those with traumatic histories – would endanger themselves through acts of self-destruction and violence. Having battled this virus for nearly two years, those of us who work in the mental health profession have now accumulated a great deal of experience and knowledge which we can mobilise in order to help minimise unconsciously behaviourally-driven causes of future pandemics.

In this presentation, Professor Brett Kahr will explore the ways in which psychotherapists have often comported themselves far too quietly – indeed passively – and have failed over the decades to collaborate more fully with governments and with the media to share our insights from the consulting room. Had we done so more vocally, we might well have helped to alert public health professionals and government leaders about the true extent to which unconscious death wishes and other violent tendencies really do exist and can contribute to such devastation.

During the American presidential campaign in 2020, Joe Biden spoke of the importance of unmuzzling public health officials. Following Biden’s advice, we must now begin to think about how we – as mental health workers – can unmuzzle the century of insights from the psychological community even more fully in order to ensure our safety in decades to come.