SSWR DSC's Doctoral Student Luncheon Panel: Social Work's Response to Collective Trauma
Collective trauma refers to the psychosocial response to a one time event or an ongoing crisis that affects an entire community or society. This response can be triggered by events such as a natural disaster, war, mass shootings, terrorist attack, pandemics, mass-casualty events etc. Immediate responses to such events may include shock, hypervigilance, fragmentation of self, chronic fatigue, and many others.

In addition to the psychological effects experienced by individuals and communities in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event or period, the process of recovering from collective trauma involves long-term processes such as changes in identity formation (both at the individual and collective levels), reconsideration of a culture or society’s dominant beliefs and practices, co-construction of meaning-making on a large scale, and reimagination of a world after or beyond the trauma.

We invited our panelists for this year to further explore this theme, paying special attention to our current socio-political movement, including the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the movement against police brutality and systemic racism. We chose this theme to acknowledge the effects of collective trauma on members of our social work research and practice community, confront the ways that these traumatic events have exacerbated existing inequities, and to identify areas for self/community care, hope, and post-traumatic growth in 2021 and beyond with the idea that, as in the words of Frantz Fanon (1967), “Collective trauma can be alleviated through cohesive and collective efforts such as recognition, remembrance, solidarity, communal therapy and massive cooperation.”

Our panelists this year were chosen due to their research interests and dedication to students. Panelists include Dr. Dawn Belkin Martinez, Dr. Kesslyn Brade-Stennis, Rupa Khetarpal, and Dr. Quenette Walton. Please submit your questions below that you may have for these panelists related to our theme.
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