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Join us for an In Person Workshop

Touching the Sound of Silence

Working therapeutically in the aftermath of disasters 


Saturday April 29th, 2023

Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Ealing, London, UK

Course fee: £80 with subsidy (Normally £140) 

With Jelena Watkins and Suzanne Lyn-Cook

We are approaching the sixth anniversaries of multiple disasters that shook the UK in the Spring of 2017, such as the Manchester Arena attack, Grenfell fire and London Bridge attack. The impact of these horrific events continues to be felt by many affected by the incidents and by entire communities, especially as their healing was overlayed by another collective trauma - the Covid 19 pandemic. 

It is therefore timely to pause and reflect on how we as psychotherapists and counsellors can best use our skills in working with those affected by collective trauma, both in the immediate aftermath and in the longer term. 

Are the tools we use for working with individual trauma sufficient for disasters? Could we become more attuned both to the pain and the possibility of growth at the individual and societal level through collective trauma? 

The workshop will make use of Jelena's lived experience as a bereaved 9/11 family member, a psychotherapist involved in the design and delivery of several post-disaster programmes and a consultant to local and central government on supporting communities after disasters.

Register for the Workshop

Why focus on disasters now?

In recent years, we have experienced unprecedented devastation from major disasters of all types- terrorist attacks, fires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

As therapists, we play a critical role in facilitating healing from these multiple societal traumas and in fostering collective renewal.

In this workshop we will explore lessons learnt from direct experience of work over nearly two decades of disasters, from 9/11 to the London attacks of 7/7 to Paris attacks, Manchester Arena attack, Grenfell Fire and the pandemic.

Since we began running these workshops in 2014 previous participants have been invited to facilitate peer support groups for people affected by the Manchester attack and the Grenfell fire. We are creating a network of appropriately trained therapists who could be called upon in various phases of disaster response, across the UK. 

Why 'The Sound of Silence'?

The title for this workshop, Touching the Sound of Silence, is inspired by the song The Sound of Silence, which I watched Paul Simon perform at Ground Zero on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

I have known the song since my brother introduced it to me in my early teens and it touched me deeply on that visit to New York: it expressed so much of my journey over that decade.

Silence in its different facets has accompanied me in my ongoing experience of 9/11: silence as a traumatic, paralysed and frozen response, but also as a creative void, a sacred abode and genuine, attentive listening.

This workshop is for professionals who want to ... 

Offer a transpersonal perspective on crisis and transformation as a result of mass trauma.

Work with therapeutic issues within a greater social and political context.

Update their knowledge with learning from recent disasters.

This one day workshop consists of 4 modules


Module 1

Lifecycle of a disaster

  • Crisis stage, recovery and rebuilding
  • Introduction of an ancient myth as a metaphor for the journey of disaster

Module 2

The immediate aftermath 

  • Collective reactions; immediate reactions of the bereaved, survivors and others directly affected
  • Psychological First Aid- Overview


Module 3

The intermediate stage

  • Truth seeking, public inquiries and inquests- facing the collective shadow
  • Stance of therapist for this stage: individual, group and community interventions
  • Running peer support groups: Manchester Attack Support Group Programme


Module 4

Long-term integration

  • Devastation as a wound and a creative void
  • Facilitating post-traumatic growth on personal and collective level
  • Case study: Manchester attack- five years on

About your facilitators 

Jelena Watkins, MA, UKCP registered

Jelena is a London based psychotherapist specialising in helping people affected by the trauma of terrorism and other disasters. Originally from former Yugoslavia, she was one of the founding members of September 11 UK Families Support Group which was formed in 2002.  

In addition, Jelena is co-founder of the Centre for Collective Trauma, a collaborative network of professionals specialising in psychosocial aspects of collective grief, loss, trauma and disaster.

Her experience includes helping design and coordinate support networks and group programmes for bereaved people, survivors and responders following incidents including the UK based survivors of the Paris attacks (2015), the Manchester Arena Attack (2017) and the Grenfell Fire (2017).

In her international work, she has been an advisory panel member for the EU Centre of Expertise for the Victims of Terrorism and a deputy chair of the Humanitarian Assistance and Psychosocial Support Expert Working Group of the Counter-Terrorism Preparedness Network (CTPN).

Suzanne Lyn-Cook, UKCP registered

Suzanne is a Psychosynthesis therapeutic counsellor, personal development coach and social change agent with a particular interest in empowering women and people of colour.

Suzanne has worked in the health and social sector for nearly 40 years in a variety of roles, including as a social worker, care services manager, social work educator, organisational consultant, a former director of a public involvement charity and trustee of a multi -cultural counselling charity.

She has experience of group work and community building. For the last 5 years she has been working in the field of healing trauma resulting from terrorism or disasters. She has facilitated support groups for people affected by the Paris attacks (2015), the Manchester Arena bombing (2017) and the Grenfell tragedy (2017). 

The Centre for Collective Trauma invites you to a one day CPD workshop:

Touching the Sound of Silence

Working therapeutically in the aftermath of disasters

Saturday April 29th, 2023

10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Ealing, London, UK

Course fee: £80 with subsidy (Normally £140) 

Facilitators: Jelena Watkins and Suzanne Lyn-Cook

This workshop is intended for qualified counsellors and therapists interested in the field of disaster trauma.

Places are limited so early booking is advised.

Register for the Workshop
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For any enquiries please contact us here.

Register for the Workshop