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Keynote Speakers

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John Briere



John Briere, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, and Senior Advisor to the USC Adolescent Trauma Training Center.  A past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, he is recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Trauma Psychology from the American Psychological Association and the William N. Friedrich Lecturer: Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Child Psychology from the Mayo Clinic.  He is author or co-author of over 140 articles and chapters, 15 books, and 9 trauma-related psychological tests. His 2019 book with Guilford Press is Treating risky and compulsive behavior in trauma survivors. His website address is

Social maltreatment as trauma: The posttraumatic effects of exposure to sexism, racism, and anti-LGBTQ+ experiences

Social discrimination and maltreatment (SDM) is widely prevalent in cultures throughout the world and has been linked to adverse outcomes ranging from depression, social alienation, substance abuse, and suicidality. Yet, there is significant disagreement as to whether SDM can be considered a psychological trauma, with current ICD and DSM trauma definitions generally requiring the presence of very threatening or catastrophic events. As a result, although some SDMs involving physical or sexual assault may meet trauma criteria, nonassaultive SDMs (for example sexist, homophobic, antisemitic, or racist epithets; social discrimination; shaming for one’s gender minority status) are not viewed as traumatic and cannot serve as the basis for a stress disorder diagnosis. Yet, it is clear that SDMs can be a major source of trauma for marginalized groups. This talk will address (1) the prevalence of SDM (2) an argument in favor of viewing SDM as a potential traumatic stressor, (3) the results of a recently completed but not yet published Canadian and American study indicating that cumulative and intersectional exposure to SDMs is common and at least as related to PTS as classically defined trauma exposure, and (4) the clinical and social implications of viewing SDMs as directly traumatizing.

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Sarah Halligan



Sarah Halligan is Professor of Child and Family Mental Health at the University of Bath. Her research examines the development of psychological disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, with a focus on children. In the PTSD field, Professor Halligan has studied the cognitive-behavioural, biological and social factors that contribute to disorder following trauma exposure, working with both national and international populations. She is particularly interested to learn how parents and others can support children and adolescents who are struggling with mental health problems, and to identify potential intervention targets.


Children’s posttraumatic distress: understanding the role of socio-contextual factors

Following traumatic experiences (e.g., physical or sexual assault, serious accidental injuries, natural disasters) children are at risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder and other adverse mental health outcomes. The majority of trauma exposed children rely on informal sources of support for their psychological recovery. This presentation will consider the factors that influence child psychological adjustment following trauma exposure, with a focus on the role that families may play in determining outcomes. In addition to studies of UK children exposed to trauma, research with children growing up in high adversity international settings will be presented.


Natalia Nalyvaiko


Dr. Natalia Nalyvaiko, Psychotherapist, clinical psychologist. Practitioner, Training analyst and Supervisor of European Confederation of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (Vienna, Austria); Board member of the European Association of Traumatic Stress Studies (Andijk, The Netherlands); Member of European Association of Psychotherapy (Vienna, Austria); Member of National Psychological Association (Kyiv, Ukraine); Member of NGO Ukrainian Association of Specialists on Overcoming Traumatic Events (Psychological Crisis Service).

Natalia provides private practice since 2006.  She also teaches at the International Institute of Depth Psychology and in the State institute of personnel training. She is actively engaged in scientific and educational work, and is a member of Certification committee and Ethical committee of National Psychological Association.

As a psychologist-practitioner Natalia has a practical experience in dealing with crisis, psychological trauma, trauma of war, PTSD and other traumatic events since 2014.

Currently Natalia together with the colleagues of European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies is implementing two-years training course of psychotrauma therapy for the Ukrainian psychologists which is conducted according to European curriculum to be certified in accordance with European Union requirements to psychotraumatology.


Living in heroic Trauma. Testimony from Ukraine. 2023

The ongoing terrible unjust war of Russia against Ukraine has led to the largest humanitarian catastrophe in the Europe of 21st Century - to the devastating death toll, injuries, multiple losses in Ukraine. Constant exposure to war affects the entire population of Ukraine causing severe direct and indirect consequences related to physical and mental health of the population. But to fully understand the traumatogenic experiences of the present, this war and its concomitant large-scale humanitarian crises must be viewed from the perspective of the countless losses and mass violations that have brutally (re)visited upon Ukraine throughout the twentieth century. Natalia will reflect on the current and examine the cumulative effects of these historical devastating events and collective trauma as a witness as well as she will focus on the ways how the ongoing trauma of war is treated and overcome by Ukrainian society.  

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Soraya Seedat

Prof. Soraya Seedat is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University. She holds the South African Research Chair in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and directs the South African Medical Research Council Unit on the Genomics of Brain Disorders. She has more than 20 years of clinical, epidemiological and basic neuroscience research experience as a psychiatrist working in the field of traumatic stress and anxiety and has published over 500 peer-reviewed journal manuscripts and co-edited four books. She has served 2 terms as the President of the College of Psychiatrists of South Africa and 3 terms as Secretary, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors and an Honorary Registrar of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. She is also a Board Member of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies.

Evidence-based interventions and task-shifting delivery approaches for adolescent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Are we effectively serving youth in disadvantaged contexts?

In many low- and middle- income countries, exposure to trauma in youth is frequent and persistent, with high rates of PTSD in both epidemiological and clinical settings. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy is highly effective intervention for PTSD in children and adolescents when delivered by specialist mental health providers. This presentation will, firstly, highlight randomised controlled trial evidence for trauma-focused and non-trauma-focused psychotherapeutic interventions for PTSD and complex PTSD in youth, predictors and moderators of treatment outcomes, and effective and cost-effective methods of intervention delivery. 

Task-shifting psychotherapeutic strategies for the management of common mental disorders have been have been widely evaluated in low- and middle- income countries, are promising from an effectiveness standpoint, and are potentially scalable. However, there are very few studies on task-shifted psychotherapies for youth with PTSD. The presentation will, secondly, focus on prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy (TF-CBT) for PTSD, and an adapted version of the transdiagnostic sleep and circadian intervention (TranS-C-Youth) for sleep disturbances and PTSD, which have been effectively task-shifted and proven effective and safe for reducing PTSD and associated psychopathology in youth. In youth, sleep disturbances can maintain PTSD symptoms and can also be residual following primary psychotherapeutic (or pharmacotherapeutic) interventions for PTSD requiring targeted, transdiagnostic sleep-focused approaches. Data from several trials conducted in a low- and middle-income country context will be presented, including some data on longer-term PTSD and other psychopathological outcomes. 

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