BOLD IDEAS!: "Your Story Doesn't End Here: Valuing survivors’ diverse experiences with trauma, recovery & activism" - August 13, 2020

BOLD IDEAS!: "Your Story Doesn't End Here: Valuing survivors’ diverse experiences with trauma, recovery & activism" - August 13, 2020


Bold Ideas serves as a platform for citizens, activists and leaders to share their personal, career and life experiences and challenges with the community, and how they negotiated their life paths around these challenges. Non-conformists are welcome.

We believe in the power of ideas, actions and experiences. We believe that humans are catalysts for a better world. We believe each experience is unique and can elevate the consciousness of others.

Bold Ideas is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It is where extraordinary people share extraordinary ideas that challenge our perspectives of what is possible, what is not possible and what is certain.

Please join us at our upcoming Bold Ideas session:

Session Title: "Your Story Doesn't End Here: Valuing survivors’ diverse experiences with trauma, recovery & activism"
Date: Thurs August 13, 2020
Time: 2:30-3:30 pm
Presenter: Shalyn Isaacs – MEd, Counselling Psychology & Psychotherapy candidate
Zoom Meeting ID: 947 8689 9611
Zoom Meeting Password: 422049

Presenter's Bio: Shalyn Isaacs is a Masters student in the Counselling Psychology & Psychotherapy program at the University of Toronto. She was the first student to serve on the Board of Trustees at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health hospital. During her time at York University as the Founder and President of Women’s Mental Health Talks and a Leadership Coach with Calumet & Stong Colleges, she worked with hundreds of students to address mental health challenges and navigate experiences with trauma. Her research has focused on intersectional theory and feminist psychology, as well as the interconnections between cultural values and South Asian women’s mental health. She has been a public speaker for 4 years, giving talks related to women’s mental health, sexual violence education and prevention, equitable leadership, perfectionism, and the role of compassion in trauma healing, self-care and systemic equity.

Her work addresses trauma-informed education and leadership. She believes that adopting trauma-informed perspectives within educational and leadership spaces has the potential to create institutions that are equitable and that prioritize the mental health, learning capacities, and empowerment of marginalized individuals and communities.

Session Summary: The “Master American Narrative” (Delker, Salton and McLean, 2019) is a model that has been continuously evoked in North American society that encourages trauma survivors to share their trauma stories in ways that highlight a straight-forward, linear path to healing and recovery; stories that emphasize a developmental trajectory from “trauma victim” to “survivor-advocate.” Notably, there are proven social and psychological benefits that can result from trauma survivors publicly sharing their experiences with healing and recovery. However, redemptive trauma stories are systematically less accessible and advantageous to individuals whose experiences with trauma do not conform to North American preferences for stories that highlight the ‘trauma victim to survivor-advocate’ narrative (Delker, Salton and McLean, 2019).

Individuals with marginalized identities who face discrimination on the basis of their race, gender, sexual identity or socio-economic class often face additional obstacles to sharing their experiences with trauma and becoming social advocates when coping with on-going traumas that are part of their daily existence. Activists and advocates from marginalized backgrounds may start to feel that their work is insufficient as a result of coping with on-going traumas and/or trauma memories.

In this talk, I will be challenging assumptions embedded within the Master American Narrative by highlighting the importance of appreciating diverse trauma stories and emphasizing ways that systemic change and individual psychological healing is connected to collective liberation. I’ll be using my personal experiences with trauma healing and advocacy work in the field of women’s mental health and sexual violence to highlight the importance of appreciating diverse lived experiences with trauma, healing, recovery and activism that rarely follows linear trajectories.

In this talk, we will learn and explore:
● How adopting a trauma-informed lens enhances our own psychological well-being and leadership capabilities.
● What it means to be a “survivor” and/or “social activist” in the context of our own personal life paths.
● The value that our unique lived experiences bring to the advocacy work we choose to engage with.
● How increasing our understanding of the complexities involved with trauma and healing can benefit ourselves and the lives of those we interact with.

Experience a moment of learning and sharing ideas.

Registration is free. Advanced registration is mandatory.