See More

> Events > Browse by Branch/Location > New South Wales > Accidental counsellors: Responding to refugee trauma related behaviours

Accidental counsellors: Responding to refugee trauma related behaviours

Event Details
Date: 31st Oct 2019
Venue: Sydney, NSW
CPD hrs: 7

Concession: $199

Standard: $249

Organiser: STARTTS

Event date has passed

There will be times when people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds talk about their previous traumatic experiences of war and violence to workers and volunteers; or get angry or upset, or display other types of trauma reactions. This workshop has been designed to give workers not trained as counsellors some basic tips and skills for how to recognise and deal with difficult behaviours in the workplace. It is mostly practical and focuses on a series of case studies and role plays to develop skills in dealing with trauma reactions. It is assumed that participants have attended an introductory workshop by STARTTS such as the Core Concepts or equivalent.

Workshop program

  • The ‘accidental’ counsellor
  • Skills for managing trauma responses: Case studies and role plays
  • Disclosure
  • Sadness and depression
  • Anger and aggression
  • Dissociation
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicide threats

Learning objectives

  • To understand who are refugees and the context of political conflict, organised violence and human rights violations
  • To understand the impact of torture and other types of refugee traumatic experiences on resettlement process
  • To understand what is meant by a refugee trauma informed approach and how this translates to the workplace
  • To know how to deal with disclosure of traumatic material
  • To know how to deal with sadness and depression
  • To know how to deal with anger and aggression
  • To know how to deal with dissociation
  • To know how to deal with panic attacks
  • To know how to deal with suicide threats

Presenter details

Dr Lydia Gitau is currently working as a Training Officer at NSW STARTTS, and as a part-time lecturer at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney. She has previously worked as a counsellor and a lecturer in various universities in Kenya, East Africa. Lydia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education, a Higher Diploma in Counselling Psychology, a Masters in International Relations, and a PhD from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, exploring trauma interventions for South Sudanese Refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Lydia was the recipient of the 2014-2015 International Peace Research (IPRA) Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, and the 2014 Postgraduate Teaching Fellowship of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney. She is interested in examining and engaging in the post-conflict interventions that have potential to support long-lasting peace for survivors of conflict and mass violence.

Jo McGregor is a registered Neurological Occupational Therapist with a Masters of Social Change and Development. She is STARTTS’ Community Development Officer for the Newcastle and Hunter Region and is engaged in the Families in Cultural Transition Program, Coordinating Youth programs, facilitating community consultations, delivering school programs, engaging Community Capacity Building projects, and working with community members to empower and strengthen communities. Jo is a member of the national Occupational Therapy group OOFRA’s and also a casual academic at the University of Newcastle. Jo’s most recent work in the Hunter has been with the Syrian, Iraqi, Congolese, Afghan, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Burundi, and Sierra Leone communities.

Location and date


31 October 2019


Concession: $199

Standard: $249



AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers