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Working with Survivors of Sexual Violence in the Context of Refugee Trauma

Clinical Master Class Evening held on 2 September 2015

Assessing and Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Survivors of Sexual Assault according to the DSM-V

Jackie Burke

In the revised version of DSM V 2013, the criterion of PTSD now includes cognitive and mood distortions as a distinct symptom cluster. Specific distortions within this cluster include persistent or a distorted sense of blame of self and others, negative beliefs or expectations and estrangement from others, markedly diminished interest in activities, inability to experience positive emotions and an inability to remember key aspects of the event

In this presentation, Jackie Burke will illustrate the trajectory of these symptoms in research over time, and explore the different models that seek to explain the development of post traumatic symptoms. She will then discuss the implications of this modification of diagnostic criteria on treatment for people who have experienced sexual violence. Jackie will also explore how symptoms of cognitive and mood distortions are manifested in this client group, and discuss assessment and treatment methods consistent with the revised diagnostic criteria.

Surviving the Internal War from Sexual Violence: A Case Study of a 21 Year Old African Woman

Andrea Pritchard

In this presentation Andrea will outline the case of ‘Jessica’, a 21 year old African woman coerced from her family and sold as a sex slave in the context of organised violence, who subsequently contracted HIV/AIDS and multiple physical injuries. She will delve into the multi-layered and complex trauma impacts Jessica experienced, such as complex grief associated with the loss of her childhood, her innocence, the death of her father, her sleep difficulties, intrusive thoughts and memories, concentration difficulties, a negative perception of herself and her environment, and her difficulties adjusting to her new life in Australia. The therapeutic interventions used and the outcomes that have resulted whilst working with Jessica will be further elaborated in the presentation, but consisted of working from a strengths based model coupled with a trauma recovery model as depicted by Judith Herman, CBT approaches and narrative therapy.

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