#childtrauma2016 reflections – Day 4 – Marina Dickson

This article was authored by Marina Dickson,
Program Manager, Vocational Training and Education at the Australian Childhood Foundation.

In my reflections on the day’s learning, I am holding onto a quote that was presented in Ed Tronick’s session. He wrote that, ‘chronic small events accumulate to big effects for good or ill.’ This set off my thinking about a range of things.

Firstly, in thinking about the chronic small events that accumulate for ill, I have been so encouraged by the focus of many of our discussions on the impacts of neglect and emotional abuse. It may seem strange to say encouraged but my response stems from us shining the light on the shadows of these forms of abuse, so often ignored or kept hidden. The cumulative harm that stems from these chronic small events is now clearly demonstrated across multiple disciplines.

However, I think the application of chronic small events accumulating to big effects for good is my real focus. With the children we work with, this means that those small, everyday, moments of positivity can build to something truly reparative given enough repetitions. Every relational exchange is an opportunity for understanding as well as an opportunity for repair.

This conference, and its layers of learning and meaning making, feel like a series of ‘light bulb’ moments that are building to a real change in my practice and training from this point onwards. It seems from the conversations occurring across the forums that everyone is making multiple connections- both in relational networks and in their own knowledge and skill building. These individual connections for 2,500 people has to bring about ‘big effects for good’.

This has also been reinforced for me as I reconnect with many professionals who have completed, or are currently undertaking, the Graduate Certificate in Developmental Trauma. It is so lovely to hear the affirming comments about the many little things that current and past students have taken from the course and been able to apply into their own practice in agencies across Australia.

What small events for big change are you going to make ‘chronic’ in your work after this conference?