Working with trauma: systemic perspectives

20th February

Renos Papadopoulos

Trauma is (almost) exclusively understood within a linear epistemological framework: an external form of adversity takes place, and this causes ‘the’ trauma. This is the challenge. Is a systemic epistemology at all relevant (or, even, possible) in conceptualising and working with trauma?

In this workshop, I shall critically examine the epistemological dimensions of the traditional (and predominant) trauma discourse in the light of systemic ideas. Can principles from the second order cybernetics be useful in unlocking new perspectives on the construction of trauma? How can a truly systemic approach to trauma look like, and what would its implications be for actual practice?

This workshop is offered in memory of Jocelyn Avigad, inspirational colleague and friend.

Renos K. Papadopoulos, Ph.D. is Professor and Director of the ‘Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees’, also, a member of the ‘Human Rights Centre’, of the ‘Transitional Justice Network’ and of the ‘Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub’ all at the University of Essex, as well as Honorary Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Family Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic. He was part of the early Systemic Team at the Tavistock Clinic. As consultant to the United Nations and other organisations, he has been working with refugees, tortured persons and other survivors of political violence and disasters in many countries. He lectures and offers specialist trainings internationally and his writings have appeared in fifteen languages. Recently, he has been given Awards by the European Family Therapy Association for Life-time ‘Outstanding contribution to the field of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice’, by the University of Essex for the best ‘International Research Impact’, and by two Mexican Foundations for his ‘exceptional work with vulnerable children and families in Mexico’.

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