Trauma Counselling Workshop Facilitated at UKZN by Visiting US Professor
A Trauma Counselling Workshop facilitated by Professor Lisa Lopez Levers of Duquesne University - a private Catholic institution in the United States - was held on UKZN’s Medical School campus.
The previous day, Levers facilitated a workshop on Crisis Intervention for professional Psychology masters students in the Discipline of Psychology on the Pietermaritzburg campus at the invitation of Professor A Nwoye, the co-ordinator of Psych 806 (Psychological Interventions: African and Global).
Levers, a Professor of Counsellor Education and Supervision in the School of Education at Duquesne University, is currently the Rev. Francis Philben, C. S. Sp. Endowed Chair in African Studies, which enables her university to give her extra funding for academic and research activities in Africa.
Levers has published books, scholarly chapters in textbooks, and articles in peer-reviewed journals regarding issues of relevance to African culture, trauma and disaster as well as the counselling profession in general. She had been awarded numerous grants and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Botswana in 2003 and 2004. She has also done trauma-related and disability-related work in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland, and some post-genocide work in Rwanda.
‘I have done quite a bit of research on the importance of indigenous knowledge in the African context. I am always looking for ways to assist with designing culturally relevant trauma interventions in sub-Saharan Africa,’ said Levers.
Her invitation to host the two workshops was based on her sound knowledge of the trauma counselling field and enormous experience in crisis intervention practice.
The Trauma Counselling Workshop was organised by Ms Zama Khanyile of the College of Law and Management Studies Student Support Services. Khanyile is an Educational Psychologist working as a Student Counsellor.
Khanyile met Levers at the International Congress of Psychology in Japan last year, discovering common and strong academic interests between them.
Student counselling professionals from the different Colleges of the University attended the all-day trauma workshop where Levers spoke on numerous theories regarding trauma, ethical considerations related to trauma, relevant supervision issues and methods on how to deal with trauma as well as integrative systemic approaches to trauma counselling.
Levers stressed that student counsellors needed to incorporate theoretical and philosophical counselling positions and practice the techniques of counselling in order to work with individuals who have been traumatised as well as to intervene appropriately in crisis and disaster situations.
In her vote of thanks, Manager of the College of Law and Management Student Support Services, Ms Aliya Vaid, said the workshop was the first step towards developing a very fruitful collaboration with Duquesne University which would enrich trauma work at UKZN.