Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Program of speakers at the Expert Forum

Jonathan Bisson

Professor Jonathan Bisson is Director of Research and Development, Cardiff University School of Medicine & Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in the UK. Having witnessed the traumatic effects of conflicts on soldiers while serving as a psychiatrist the British Army, Professor Bisson went on to direct the All Wales Veterans Health and Wellbeing Service, which integrates a psychosocial and a general response. He was recently appointed Clinical Director of the All Wales National Institute for Social Care and Health Research Academic Health Science Collaboration. He will show that evidence-based guidelines can play a key role in establishing a common response to trauma across national borders and across all stages of patient recovery, and will argue that Psychological First Aid should be embedded in society as an essential skill.

Beverley Raphael
Professor Beverly Raphael brings over 50 years' experience to the understanding of trauma and loss. She has advised governments and agencies on disasters and their mental health consequences over many years and she will explore the enduring link between a traumatic event and severe psychological distress. Trauma and loss are extremely complex and embedded in an individual’s lived experience. War veterans, abused children, those exposed to terrorism and disaster survivors will have a vastly different traumatic experiences, making it imperative to consider posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within broader social, cultural and historical contexts, while taking into account the growing neurobiological understandings. Professor Raphael will consider these issues and their particular relevance for children and across the life span, their complexities and interfaces with resilience.

Richard Bryant
Professor Richard Bryant is a Scientia Professor and Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, as well as Director of the PTSD Unit, Westmead Hospital. As a committee advisor to the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), he will introduce the coming changes to the clinical diagnosis of PTSD, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), as well as the controversial addition of complicated grief as a new diagnosis. Despite the widespread reluctance to clinically diagnose grief, Professor Byrant puts forth both a human and economic argument for its inclusion in the DSM. He will also argue the need to shift the diagnosis of ASD from a predictive diagnosis to a descriptive diagnosis to enable early intervention.

Derrick Silove
As a specialist in the areas of mass trauma and transcultural psychiatry, Professor Silove and his team are at the forefront of research in the field of refugee and post-conflict mental health worldwide. The assessment and measurement of traumatic stress across cultures remains controversial. Professor Silove will weigh the risks of “imposing” western-derived constructs and diagnostic measures in transcultural settings, highlighting the underlying assumptions that lead to inaccurate assessment and prejudice the task of providing culturally focused services. His presentation will draw on examples from epidemiological research conducted amongst the Vietnamese, East Timorese and West Papuans undertaken by the Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit at the University of New South Wales and its collaborators.

Alexander McFarlane
As well as heading the University of Adelaide Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor Alexander McFarlane is the Senior Adviser in Psychiatry to the Australian Defence Force. As a leading expert on trauma and the military, Professor McFarlane will shed light on lessons from historical and contemporary accounts of war, reminding us of the importance of understanding individual vulnerabilities in the context of traumatic exposure that leads to PTSD and other illnesses. He will argue that war of its nature necessitates a properly resourced occupational health system that focuses on prevention, early identification through screening, and evidence-based care and rehabilitation.

Mark Creamer
Professor Mark Creamer has overseen the evolution of the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health (ACPMH) from a Centre devoted to the recognition of PTSD diagnosis in war veterans, to an organisation that is consistently challenging our understanding of PTSD by integrating advances in policy, research and training. The field of psychological trauma has changed dramatically since ACPMH was formed in its previous incarnation as the National Centre for War Related PTSD in 1995. Professor Creamer will discuss the growth of ACPMH in the context of ACPMH in the context of national and international developments in the field of posttraumatic mental health, highlighting key achievements in policy, research and training and their relevance in Australia and overseas.

David Forbes
Associate Professor David Forbes is a clinical psychologist with many years of experience in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems following trauma. He has been with ACPMH since 1999 and is currently the Interim Director. He has worked in both acute crisis and continuing care settings across the community mental health system and in specialist traumatic stress services. Associate Professor Forbes will discuss the future direction of ACPMH and the changes he anticipates as part of its evolution. He will outline ACPMH will continue to make a vital contribution to the field of posttraumatic mental health through integrated services and the role of innovation in improving Australia’s response to PTSD.


Session 1: Getting research out of the lab and into the field – chaired by Meaghan O’Donnell

In settings where trauma is most prevalent, the need to identify those who will likely require assistance in overcoming traumatic exposure is greatest. This symposium will discuss the challenge of integrating evidence-based treatments into clinical settings, and will showcase best practice in identifying trauma patients, and the use of evidence-based techniques to curb the onset of PTSD in those patients. It will be an opportunity to learn about therapies and treatments that are proven to help patients who have endured trauma, such as cognitive processing techniques.
  • Delyth Lloyd – Cognitive Processing Therapy – an effective treatment for PTSD
  • Associate Professor Meaghan O’Donnell – A stepped model for the delivery of early psychological treatment after severe injury
  • Dr Vanessa Cobham and Associate Professor Brett McDermott –Treating PTSD in Queensland children and adolescents following our “Summer of Sorrows”: Taking an evidence-based approach into the community
  • Anne-Laure Couineau – Improving the treatment of PTSD: What does adopting evidence-based practice really mean for organisations and clinicians?

Session 2: Managing trauma in industry and community settings: Evidence-based practice – chaired by Andrea Phelps

The true cost of trauma is borne by individuals, organisations and communities as a whole. To mitigate these costs, industries that have a foreseeable risk of staff exposure to trauma must ensure that best practice support is available. Similarly, governments responsible for recovery following natural disasters require systems to support those afflicted. This symposium will delve into best-practice interventions following trauma, and will explore how treatments can be applied in real world settings to reduce detrimental outcomes.
  • Dr Darryl Wade – Mental health after disaster: Building community capacity 
  • Andrea Phelps – Looking after your own: Psychological First Aid in the workplace 
  • Dr Tracey Varker – Peer support: What do the experts say? 
  • Dr Lisa Gardner – Rehabilitation after trauma: It’s not just about return to work

    To make the most out of this Forum, please join our Mental Health discussions at our LinkedIn Group 'ACPMH Forum 2011' . You can start your own discussion topics, ask questions and make contributions.

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    You can learn more about ACPMH here, and Register here for the Expert Forum! Early bird registrations are now open until 22 July 2011.

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