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25 Oct '23

10 Key Learning Points from the Childhood Trauma and Recovery Conference

Posted by Carolyn in News

On the 23rd of October we held “See Me – I am Here: More on Childhood Trauma and Recovery”. A conference which saw 120 delegates, coming from all over Scotland, to learn more about this important subject, and share the working going on around Scotland.

Featuring inspiring talks from 6 incredible speakers, who supplied our delegates with knowledge updates, practical strategies and inspiration to create change.


Here’s a list of the 10 key learning points from the day.

1)Labels are not always helpful

Our first keynote speaker, Dr Tom Brunzell, Director of Berry Street, spoke about ‘A New Approach to Trauma-Informed Teaching’. He said that branding a child as “naughty” is already known to be unhelpful, now we use branding of “trauma affected”.

He said, “instead of saying trauma affected students or trauma affected behaviour, try saying what I’m seeing is stressed behaviour, or a young person who is unable to manage the stress tolerance within themselves”. This allows you to come into the situation with a more relatable and human approach.

2) Use trauma informed teaching with ALL of your students

Tom told our delegates that 1 in 3 young people report stress and 1 in 4 report loneliness.

Using a trauma informed approach for everyone in your classroom, not only acts as a pre-emptive measure, but also avoids singling one child out, by telling them they require special strategies.

3) Behaviour is a form of communication

Natalie Logan Maclean, CEO of Sisco, was the second speaker of the day. She gave a powerful presentation on her personal experience with childhood trauma.

She covered the different ways her behaviour would come across as “bad”, however no adults were seeing the whole picture and therefore never got to the bottom of it, leaving her to deal with it alone.


4) Trauma will change children’s viewpoint of the whole world

Experiencing childhood trauma is overwhelming and will affect how the child views the world around them. This will likely undermine any beliefs that the world is good and safe.

This must be taken into account when approaching and communicating with the children and young people you support. Take time and action to show them they are safe. This could include speaking gently, creating safe spaces and letting them lead the conversation.

5) Don’t try to change the child

Our second keynote was David Taransaud, UKCP registered psychotherapeutic counsellor, consultant, author, documentary maker & trainer.

He opened by asking the audience what would happen if they went home to their partner and said you’ve been thinking about them all day and believe that you would both be so much happier… if THEY changed.

No one likes to be told they need to change. If you instead support the child, show you want to get to know them, the change will come over time.

6) It only takes one

David went on to explain that superheroes and supervillains actually have a lot in common. Most of them experienced a traumatic event in childhood.

The difference being that the superheroes all had one adult in their life, who loved and supported them, leading them to their success.

“Every child is one caring adult away from a success story” – Josh Shipp

You could be that one person, for the children and young people you support.


7) Support those around the child first

By supporting the staff, the parents and other adults in the child’s life, you are creating a network of informed people around them.

Have a conversation with their family, their bus driver, other teachers who may not understand yet why their behaviour may be affected and let them know what the child needs to be supported.

8) Get Creative!

Moteh Parrot joined us from Live Music Now Scotland, to talk about the healing power of music.

Music and art are excellent for coping strategies and expression. As Tom Brunzell stated earlier in the day “stress is non-verbal, and it echoes between us”. Having a creative outlet allows children and young people to express themselves without having to speak – which may be very hard for some.

9) ‘Never marry a hypothesis, just flirt with it’

Our final speakers were Dr Kirstin Ferguson, Clinical Psychologist and Laura McVey, Systemic and Family Psychotherapist – both part of Kibble’s SAFE Service.

They used the above Cecchin quote to explain that there is no “one cause” for childhood trauma.

It is positive to put strategies in place and have a good understanding on the “why”, however every situation is different and will depend on the child, so stay flexible.

Kibble’s SAFE service is a new, free service for young people and families affected by crime. They work systemically to gain new insights into a child’s world after trauma.


10) Trauma goes beyond childhood

“Being a victim of harm in childhood can increase the risk of being a victim and or perpetrator of harm in adulthood”.

This is why it is so important to give children and young people the best support we can, so they have the tools to face their trauma and move towards recovery.

Thank you to all of the wonderful speakers, who shared valuable knowledge and strategies with the audience, and to the delegates who are always working towards better understanding and therefore best practice.

A huge thank you to our conference partners Kibble and to Corra Foundation and Play Art Create for exhibiting at the event.

If you want to see more of the day, you can go to our socials @MedicaCPD for pictures and highlights.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on future events. You can call us on 0141 638 4098 or email

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