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

Touching the sound of silence: Working therapeutically in the aftermath of disasters

Lessons learnt from Manchester attack and other collective trauma events

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

This workshop is for professionals who want to ... 

Update their knowledge with learning from recent disasters.
Work with therapeutic issues within a greater social and political context.
Offer a transpersonal perspective on crisis and transformation as a result of mass trauma.

About The Workshop

In recent years we have witnessed a wave of disasters, from terror attacks, earthquakes, fires and the pandemic. As a psychotherapist or counsellor, you are likely to feel compelled to use your skills to alleviate the suffering but may not feel that the skills you learnt about individual trauma incidents are sufficient for the needs of those affected by collective trauma. 

To address this need for therapeutic interventions following collective trauma, we have been delivering this course for nearly a decade now, updating it with learning from our work with the bereaved relatives, survivors, responders and others affected by terror attacks and other forms of disaster or collective trauma.

This one-day, interactive workshop will address the impact of disasters on those directly affected, such as bereaved relatives or survivors and on larger groups such as local communities or entire nations. It will outline therapeutic work in responding to disaster trauma from acute stage intervention to long-term integration on the personal and collective level. The examples will be drawn from the Manchester Arena as well as a number of other incidents that we have worked with over the past 20 years from 9/11 to the London bombings of 7/7 to Paris attacks, Manchester Arena attack, Grenfell Fire and the pandemic.

The workshop will make use of Jelena’s lived experience as a bereaved 9/11 family member and psychotherapist involved in design and delivery of several post-disaster programmes, most recently the Manchester Attack Support Group Programme.

Teachings drawn from psychosynthesis, creative art forms and myth will be used throughout the workshop.

We will attempt to deepen our understanding of the relationship between collective and individual trauma and how to best use our therapeutic skills to help those who suffered a disaster.

 In dealing with the additional impact of processes such as public inquiries, commemorations and media reporting we will be looking at the dynamic interplay between personal and collective recovery.

Additionally, a great deal of conventional therapeutic thinking is based around "treating" pathological disorders such as PTSD or complicated mourning. In recent years, however, there has been a growing awareness of post-traumatic growth amongst those affected by trauma.

We will be looking at this idea both on the individual and collective level, examining whether such post-traumatic growth can occur at the societal level and how we as therapists could play a part in this change in culture.

Programme for the day 

Session 1

Lifecycle of a disaster

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

Session 2

The immediate aftermath 

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


Session 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


Session 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). 

By attending this workshop participants will be able to ...

Understand how disaster trauma impacts individuals, groups and societies over time.
Apply learning from recent terrorist attacks and other disasters about effective psychosocial interventions.
Become a part of a network of professionals trained in disasters who meet regularly for ongoing CPD and can be engaged in future work in the aftermath of disasters

Spaces are limited. For secure booking please click the button below:


Date: Saturday April 29th  2023  at 9:30 am  (for 10 am start) til 5:00 pm.
Location: Overton House, 74 Castlebar Road, Ealing, London W5 2DD.
Maximum 16 places available. Register now to secure your spot.



Course fee: £80 (Normally £140 - subsidised by the Manchester Attack Support Group Programme)

Refreshments will be provided but please bring your own packed lunch, or there are eating places at Ealing Broadway (10 mins walk from the venue)

CPD certificate provided on the day.
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Frequently Asked Questions

For any enquiries please contact us here.

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