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Pink elephants in the room: Trauma informed care in the AOD sector

Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA)

Thursday, 19 September 2013 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (AEST)

Pink elephants in room: Trauma informed care in the...

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Colac   more info Ended $90.00 $4.59
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Event Details


VAADA has been funded by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) under the Substance Misuse Services Delivery Grants Fund (SMSDGF) to provide trauma informed care (TIC) training for AOD and other health/welfare workers.

Adopting a trauma informed approach to practice ensures that all consumers and their presentations are understood in the context of their life experiences and cultural backgrounds. These 1-day experiential workshops, held in 6 locations across Victoria, will equip workers with new skills and the confidence to work more effectively with people who present with trauma-related issues. 

Donna Zander, a leading local expert on the neurobiology of trauma, trauma-based interventions and loss and grief will present Pink elephants in the room: Trauma informed care in the AOD sector 

Donna will present alongside a trauma survivor who will "bring the pink elephant into the room", allowing workers to gain a unique insight into how trauma affects people, the interaction between trauma and substance use, and the clinical frameworks for practice.


Event details

Date: Thursday 19 September 2013

Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm. *Please arrive to register between 9-9.15am for a 9.30am start.

Venue: Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre, Cnr Rae and Gellibrand Streets, Colac

Cost: $90 + Eventbrite processing fee (includes a manual, morning/afternoon tea and lunch)


Other relevant information 

  • Parking onsite.

  • Accommodation within walking distance: Mid City Motor Inn – 289 Murray St, Colac, Ph: 5231 3333; Web: www.nationwide.com.au/colacmidcity.  Room rate: $95 single room.



Donna Zander

Donna is a social worker and educator renowned for her unique style of raising awareness of social justice and human rights issues relating to survivors of trauma. She has clinical experience working with vulnerable and abused children, young people and adults in a range of different settings.

Recently asked to present at VAADA's Naloxone Forum, Donna has trained extensively across the welfare and education sectors and has also been responsible for the development and facilitation of a number of statewide initiatives including work with Victoria Police, Department of Human Services, Justice and the International White Ribbon Campaign.

Donna is a keen advocate for experiential group work and creative therapies. Her personalised, energetic and dynamic presentation style sees her services as a keynote speaker and facilitator in great demand both nationally and overseas.

Feedback from Naloxone Forum participant: "Donna's presentation inspired me to look at my work and find ways to do it better."




9.00 – 9.15am - Registration

9.30 – 11.20am - Assessing your knowledge of trauma and how it affects people

  • Overview of trauma and trauma-related mental health disorders
  • Signs and symptoms of trauma as it relates to AOD
  • Trauma risks as a result of AOD use

11.20 – 11.35am - Morning tea break

11.35am – 1.00pm - The importance of trauma screening and assessment

  • Using the Modified Mini Screen (MMS) to identify trauma
  • Providing suitable interventions based on the screening results

1.00 – 1.30pm – Lunch break

1.30 – 3.00pm - Providing trauma informed care and clinical frameworks for practice

  • Phases of treatment (stepped care approach)
  • The essentials for all AOD workers:
    • Creating a safe environment
    • Dealing with anger and/or immediate crises
    • Working with the window of tolerance
    • Providing psycho-education on trauma and AOD
    • Acknowledging trauma without “unpacking” complex and serious issues
    • Strengths-based approaches, choices and empowerment
    • Keeping people engaged in treatment
    • Involving supportive family and friends
    • Tips for avoiding re-traumatisation
    • Knowing where to refer to what it involves (e.g. understanding limitations to access in terms of referral options and waiting lists)

3.00 – 3.15pm – Afternoon tea break

3.15 – 4.20pm - Understanding the effect someone’s trauma has on you and developing effective self-care strategies

  • Vicarious trauma and how it affects you
  • Managing your own triggers and stressors
  • Developing confidence in your skills
  • The importance of debriefing with colleagues

4.20 – 4.30pm – Summary

4.30pm - Close


Further info

Contact Anna Guthrie on aguthrie@vaada.org.au or Jane Moreton on jmoreton@vaada.org.au with any queries.


         VAADA acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria 

Have questions about Pink elephants in the room: Trauma informed care in the AOD sector? Contact Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA)

When & Where

Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre
Corner Rae and Gellibrand Streets
Colac, VIC 3250

Thursday, 19 September 2013 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (AEST)

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