Reflections on Day 5 of the 2018 International Childhood Trauma Conference

This blog article was written by Marina Dickson,
Executive Manager Professional Education Services
at The Australian Childhood Foundation.


What do you think about hope?

On the last day of the conference I am wondering about this concept of hope, particularly as it applies to us as practitioners, carers, workers and people (or is that human beings?).  This week has been a time for stopping our every day, coming together and reflecting on and analysing the work that we do and the children that come into and out of our lives.  In the panel discussion at the end of the fourth day of the International Childhood Trauma Conference, the question about hope was presented to the panel members and generated an interesting and challenging discussion – which I would not presume to summarise here!

But what it did do was reinforce for me the importance of hope, or optimism, in holding us in our work, our lives and our care.  And linked into that is the importance of caring for ourselves in the midst of the maelstrom of trauma, its manifestations, its challenges and its power.  This theme of caring for ourselves has been echoed throughout the conference by speakers and participants alike.

The variety of perspectives on looking after ourselves in our work has reminded me that self-care is such a personal choice and process.  However, while so many of the ideas were about things we do in our down time and by ourselves, what has been equally strong throughout this conference is how much we can care for ourselves by connecting with others.  In fact, the panel session included a discussion of how self-regulation is invariably co-regulation.

This opportunity to come together and learn together but also to value the work that we all do is something that feels infinitely caring in both its expression and its experience.  There have been connections made in conversations, in activities, in those ‘aha’ moments from each speaker and in the simple act of eating together that truly reflect the multitudinous demonstrations and evidence of the importance for us as humans to experience connection to feel safe and cared for.  This conference celebrates our care and our practice with children across the country and, indeed, across the world.  And all of that provides a range of thoughts, feelings and sensations that I am going to take many moments to stop and be mindful of as I step back into my work next week.

For those that attended I genuinely hope you found it a caring and hopeful experience and for us all in our work I hope you find the ways that best help you to maintain your own ‘hopefilled-ness’.