Trauma Psychology News

President’s Column – Summer 2023

Dawn Hughes, PhD, ABPP
Dawn Hughes, PhD, ABPP

Healing from trauma involves rebuilding our ability to trust – trust in people – trust in institutions – trust in oneself. Effective trauma therapy helps restore that trust. Today, I feel humbled that my patients trust me and hear me when I demonstrate belief in their value, their goodness, and their recovery. I continue to strive to give them reason to trust me so that they can heal. They joke that I am a broken record. I believe in recovery. I believe in healing. I believe in their need to tell the truth. I believe in their need to be heard. I believe that even though they were horribly harmed, they do not have to give up their right to a full and meaningful life. It does not mean it is easy – but the struggle is worth it. I am happy to be that broken record.

Thus, I continue to feel grateful and honored to be part of our Division and community of trauma psychologists who work tirelessly to disseminate information about the psychological impact of trauma and to assist individuals and communities in compassionate healing and recovery. I am reminded that there is so much more to do, which sometimes feels overwhelming and disheartening. Still, I continue to know that positive change is possible – that healing is possible – and that we can meaningfully contribute to psychological recovery.

I am excited for the 2023 APA Annual Convention in Washington, DC on August 3-5. Registration is open! This year’s theme is Trauma Healing and Recovery, and our program chair, Dr. Chuck Benincasa, has constructed an enriching, enlightening, and diverse APA program. We will have symposia and skill-building sessions that tackle indigenous trauma-informed approaches from the classroom, victimization of Latino youth and adults, co-occurring PTSD and substance use in transition-age youth, disaster response, postpartum PTSD, and so much more. We are excited to announce that APA has chosen one of our symposia, Cultural Betrayal Trauma in BIPOC Communities: Liberation Approaches to Healing as a Featured Stage Presentation on Saturday, August 5 @ 1:00 in the Convention Center. Much of our APA programming has been approved for continuing education credits, so gather up those hours!

On Friday, August 4 @ 4:00 in the Convention Center, I will give my Presidential Address with my invited speakers, Dr. Mary Ann Dutton and Dr. Steven N. Gold, who will address what we may have lost sight of in the field to help people heal from the traumatic effects of victimization. Dr. Dutton and Dr. Gold will reflect upon the trajectory of the field of trauma psychology after over 40 years of research, clinical interventions, forensic practice, and graduate-level teaching and training in trauma, specifically in areas of childhood sexual abuse and intimate partner violence, respectively.

Please attend our Awards Ceremony and Social Hour, which will be held on Friday, August 4 @ 6:00 at the Marriott Marquis. This is traditionally a blast with great food, drink, and fun! It is an excellent opportunity to see old colleagues, make new friends, and meet Division Leadership. Our hospitality suite is at the Marriott Marquis, just next to the Convention Center. We will have exciting programming in the suite, as well as lunch, fun, networking, and swag! Please make a point to stop by!

I am thrilled to share the results of the APA Election for Division 56 – Trauma Psychology:

  • President-Elect: Jessica Punzo, PsyD
  • Member-at-Large: Marta Miranda, PsyD
  • Early Career Representative: Maria Valgoi, PhD
  • Student Representative: Amanda Acevedo, MA, EdS
  • Professional Affiliate Representative: Xenia Barnes, MA

I want to congratulate and warmly welcome the winners to our Executive Board. I also want to thank everyone who ran and for your continued commitment to our Division! There are many ways to stay involved, so please get in touch with me!

I continue to feel honored to be in this leadership position, excited to serve, and committed to being responsive to you. Please feel free to reach out to me with any thoughts, suggestions, questions, or anything else that impacts our division. May you be safe, healthy, and have peace of mind.

I look forward to seeing you in DC!

Dawn Hughes, PhD, ABPP

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