UConn to host third annual conference on complex trauma


(Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

(Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut trained psychology students to treat trauma patients at its third annual Conference on Complex Trauma. The conference was funded by Christine Andersen of the Matlan Andersen Fund and supported by the psychological sciences department on Friday, March 30 in the Student Union.

According to the UConn Foundation website, the Matlan Andersen foundation “was established to help people whose lives have been affected by trauma.” The foundation focuses on improving training given to psychology students and psychologists with an interested in helping trauma victims.

The annual 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. conference hosts a variety of presenters, including survivors of trauma themselves. Each presentation focuses on a different type of trauma, the associated symptoms, and the most effective ways to help treat patients as a psychologist, according to the Andersen Foundation.

Christine Andersen, an organizer and benefactor of the event, is a survivor of trauma herself.

“At 19 I suffered severe trauma, and when I sought out help there were little options for me,” Andersen said.

Andersen’s goals for this foundation are to make the psychological field an easier place for survivors to find knowledgeable help, she said.

“A majority of the people attending today are clinical psychology students searching for trauma training,” Andersen said. “One thing we think is important is to bring in experts in the field and send UConn students to training. We have also established a trauma library here on campus.”

Andersen said her other goal is to “be able to raise more money for the foundation to supply more scholarships for students hoping to gain more training in the treatment of trauma patients.”

Marianne Barton, an organizer of the event and faculty member in the psychology department, said the main goal of the event is to “make an effort to understand the patients and their symptoms and how to help them.”

Barton believes UConn is making a strong effort by supporting this foundation multiple years in a row. Her future goals for the conference are to continue assisting the future graduating psychologists of UConn to be more adept at working with trauma.

“Without the large donation by Christine Andersen and the support of the university, we would not be able to host teaching events like this for our students,” Barton said.

UConn clinical psychology student Lucy Finkelstein-Fox said she attended the day-long conference in hopes to become more informed about the treatment of trauma patients. She stated that the conference was important to the students because it directly affected their future career environment, and they wanted to be able to help those in need the most efficient ways they could.

“The conference provides a model of trauma that we wouldn’t normally interact with,” Finkelstein-Fox said. “This conference is really a gift to our program.”

Jillian Fernandes is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Jillian.fernandes@uconn.edu.

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