International Conference: Trauma and What it Means to be Human

Organized by the Department of Psychology and Counselling at Webster University Geneva and the Global Initiative for Stress and Trauma Treatment (GIST-T)


Dates: 28-29 (Saturday and Sunday) April 2018

Location: Webster University Geneva, 9, route de Collex, Bellevue, Geneva
Living and Learning Center (LLC) Commons Room plus classroom breakouts



Participation in the conference requires registration and the payment of 50 CHF.  Coffee breaks included. Space is limited.

Event Background


Emotional trauma is an inherent part of human existence. The fact that we are all mortal means that the possibility of pain and suffering is ever present. And yet with this comes the

potential for forming bonds of deep emotional connection within which our pain and suffering can be transformed. Our kinship in the same darkness is what offers us hope and healing.


The aim of this conference is to consider what may be the most important challenge of our times: how can we retain our humanity in the face of devastating and sometimes even dehumanizing experiences, as well as how best to protect and promote the human dignity of the devastated Other.


There are no easy answers and, perhaps reflecting the charged nature of the subject matter, the field of trauma is not without its own controversies. Indeed, how we conceptualize trauma has an impact not only on individuals but on wider communities and can become political. This conference therefore seeks to open a dialogue for exploring the contested narratives about trauma, as well as to consider what those narratives reveal about a core issue of our lives: what it means to be human.


Topics to be discussed at the conference include but not limited to:


  • Meaning-making and trauma
  • Collective and individual healing
  • Trauma as a root cause of conflict
  • Trauma and dreams
  • Needs assessment after crises
  • Addressing gender based violence and displacement
  • Post-traumatic growth




The conference will include three keynote speakers and one invited presentation, two panel discussions, and eight workshops.


The keynote speeches will be given by Pat Bracken, consultant psychiatrist and clinical director of Mental Health Services in west Cork, Ireland; Donna Orange, faculty member and clinical consultant at New York University, the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity (IPSS) in New York, and Istituto di Specializzazione in psicologia psicoanalitica del sé e psicoanalisi relazionale (ISIPSé) Roma and Milano; and Gina Ross, founder/president of the International Trauma-Healing Institutes in the United States and Israel and the co-founder of the Israeli Trauma Center at Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem.


A special presentation on a personal trauma narrative and the importance of implementing a Trauma Awareness Day at the United Nations will be given by Cara Perrett, a Webster University Master’s student and Project Director for UN Trauma Awareness Day at the Global Initiative for Stress and Trauma Treatment (GIST-T).


Practical details


Participation in the conference requires registration and the payment of 50 CHF.  Coffee breaks included. Space is limited.


Register here

Bank transfer information for registration fee available here

Download the Conference Program

Download the Save the Date Flyer


Steering conference committee


Vlad Glaveanu, Head of Psychology and Counselling, Webster University Geneva

Catherine Butterly, Counselling MA Coordinator, Webster University Geneva

Cara Perrett, Counselling MA student, Webster University Geneva

Carolina De La Torre Ugarte, Global Initiative for Stress and Trauma Treatment (GIST-T)

Gail Womersley, Neuchatel University

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Webster University Geneva, LLC Commons Room
Route de Collex 9 1293 Bellevue, Switzerland

Event Type

Global Campuses, Geneva



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