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Trauma Psychologist To Be Keynote Speaker At ‘A Day Of Shared Experiences’

Dr Kevin Becker has more than 25 years of experience working with traumatized individuals and communities. The Massachusetts-based psychologist will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday, May 31, Community Connections “A Day of Shared Experiences,” taking place at Walnut Hill Community Church on Saturday, May 31.

The all-day event is geared toward adults age 18 and older, and will be centered on breakout groups led by various members of other communities affected by violence. Discussion leaders include members of the Nickel Mines Amish community, Columbine High School, and Virginia Tech. It is intended as a means of learning how to better understand the many ways in which people heal from a traumatic event such as 12/14, and as outreach for anyone in the area who feels affected by the events of that day, directly or indirectly.

“I will try to keep my remarks to the two themes of the shared experiences trauma survivors have and the importance and role of community connections in recovery,” said Dr Becker, who will offer his remarks at the start of the day. He will also address research and data as it applies to the impact of a traumatic event on individuals.

“More specifically,” Dr Becker said, “how trauma survivors are similar, and building on that, the impact to the broader pool of trauma survivors.”

What is important is that an affected community not experience “the disaster after the disaster,” when potentially fractured groups with different needs fail to realize similarities and become focused on differences. “There are ripple effects for a long time,” Dr Becker said.

It is vital not to lose sight of the sense of community, resources, and support available, Dr Becker said. “It’s an important part of restabilizing. Finding common ground and reconnecting is very important. No one,” he stressed, “recovers in isolation.”

It must be acknowledged that every person has a unique experience with tragedy, he added. “So, the community as a whole has to step back and look at what we need. You don’t want factions to become a new way of life. If a ‘new normal’ includes factions that are detrimental, it is not good for recovering, in general,” said Dr Becker.

“I am thrilled to be asked to speak on May 31,” he said, and added that he would like to see a broad representative of people from across the town and region, particularly those people who may not think they have been immediately affected by 12/14. “I hope that participants will walk away feeling these shared experiences [following the event]. The things in common help them stay together as a community,” he said.

Dr Becker will be available following his introduction to answer questions.

A Day of Shared Experiences is a collaboration of Newtown/Sandy Hook Community Foundation, The Resiliency Center, Sandy Hook Promise, Walnut Hill Community Church, Town of Newtown, and Newtown Schools. To find out more about “A Day of Shared Experiences,” visit www.nshcf.org. There is no fee to attend, but registration is requested.

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