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March 29, 2016

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March 29, 2016
For Immediate Release

WATERLOO – The Centre for Teaching Innovation and Excellence at Wilfrid Laurier University is offering a new continuing education workshop, Refugee Trauma 101, from April 8 - 10 at the Waterloo campus.

Refugee Trauma 101 is a two-day workshop designed for volunteers and mental health professionals working with refugees. Course content will introduce participants to trauma experienced by refugees and discuss strategies to enhance resilience and self-healing. The course also covers the self-care of helpers, and includes lectures, discussions and experiential learning.

“Many refugees experience both traumatization and uprooting, which can be extremely painful and stressful experiences that are difficult to cope with,” said Heidi Ahonen, a professor in Laurier’s Master of Music Therapy program and workshop facilitator. “Many suffer long-lasting psychological issues and can live in fear even when the immediate threat is no longer present.”

Ahonen is the director of The Manfred and Penny Conrad Centre Institute for Music Therapy Research and a graduate of the Harvard programme of Global Trauma Recovery: Refugee Trauma. She is also a psychotherapist with specialization in refugee trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Workshop co-facilitators include Brice Balmer, assistant professor in the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary’s Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy program, and Iman Arab, medical doctor and community mental health professional.

Additional topics include: intercultural communication skills, cultural meaning-making of trauma, introduction to the refugee trauma experience, understanding the neurology and implications of PTSD, trauma screening, spirituality and trauma, vicarious traumatization and compassion fatigue.

Registration is $150 for the two-day conference (includes lunches). To register, contact by March 31.

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Heidi Ahonen, Professor
Faculty of Music 
Wilfrid Laurier University    

T: 519-884-0710 ext. 2431


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070



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