The pre-conference workshop 29/9 will be held at the same place as that the rest of the conference; at ABF-huset, Sveavägen 41.  It is hosted together with the Crisis and Trauma Centre (KTC) in Stockholm.

Mikaela Lindström is a licensed psychologist with a special training in psychotraumatology. She works as a clincal psychologist at the Crisis and trauma centre in Stockholm, Sweden with severely traumatized clients. She works with stabilisation in group settings and as well as in individual psychotherapy.

Hans Peter Söndergaard, MD, PhD is an associate professor at Karolinska Institutet. He is also a clinical psychiatrist and senior consultant at the Crisis and Truama Centre in Stockholm, Sweden. His main research field is stress research and psychotraumatology.

(The pre-congress workshop is not included in the fee for the conference.)


Background/Theory (45 min)

Acute stress reactions
Psychological first aid
Stabilisation in trauma treatment

Practice/Worshop (90 min with pause)

Meeting acutely traumatized patients
Stabilisation techniques – why, when, what, how


This workshop will cover current knowledge on acute and posttraumatic stress reactions to give an understanding of these common reactions in the aftermath of rape. Many victims of sexual violence have experienced previous traumatic events and may have a history of complex traumatisation, which needs to be considered. The principles of psychological first aid and the use of stabilisation in trauma treatment will be discussed and form the basis for the practical part of the workshop. There, topics of how and when stabilisation techniques can be used in the acute care of rape victims will be discussed together with exercises.

Reactions after distressing events such as rape are common and may be diverse. Individuals may respond with symptoms of hyperarousal as well as with hypoaroused states. Most people subjected to potentially traumatizing events do not go on to develop severe posttraumatic difficulties. However, victims of rape and interpersonal violence have high rates of both acute stress disorder and PTSD, and this need to be addressed in acute care as well as in follow up and treatment.

Up to date knowledge on normal stress and crisis reactions can be used to inform the way we as professionals treat our patients, and give insights to what may be signs of more pathological reactions. Given the diversity of normal reactions and the difficulties to tell in the early aftermath of highly distressing events who will develop PTSD and other severe posttraumatic distress, the clinical task of determining the appropriate level of care remains a challenge.

The principles of psychological first aid may provide some guidance in the clinical assessment of acute stress, with safety always being the first concern. Fostering resilience and watchful waiting may be enough for some patients, while others require more support and/or treatment.

Stabilisation is part of most psychological treatment of traumatic stress, in some way or another. Patients need to be able to process their traumatic memories and in order to do so, may need techniques to calm themselves down, maintain presence in the here-and-now or otherwise engage in the therapeutic work. For some patients there may be a need for stabilisation not only of affect and symptoms but also in the outer world to create more stable living conditions or relationships, for example. This workshop will focus on stabilisation as affect regulation and management of symptoms, as well as ways to use a therapeutic approach that helps the patient to remain in the window of tolerance and do trauma treatment.