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NCAHA Forum - Trauma Informed Care for Allied Health Professionals

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Event description

Many clients have underlying trauma-related issues. This forum is for allied health professionals wanting to improve treatment where trauma is also a factor.  

Hear our expert speakers and join with colleagues in identifying key challenges in dealing with trauma and strategies for improved practice.

SPEAKER 1 - Ryan McGrath: Ryan is a physiotherapist and early career researcher from Shepparton, Victoria. In addition to his physio qualification, Ryan is currently enrolled in PhD studies in psychology. He is a research committee member with the International Organization of Physical Therapy in Mental Health, and a committee member with the Australian Physiotherapy Association NSW Mental Health Branch. 

Ryan has previously worked as a physiotherapist in refugee health and has volunteered as a crisis supporter with Lifeline Australia. He has a particular interest in improving the skills of allied health professionals to respond to disclosures of psychological and/or suicidal distress that arise in their regular practice settings. Ryan has published four peer-reviewed articles on the topic of physiotherapists supporting people experiencing psychological distress. Ryan’s research can be found at  

Presentation Title: Being Prepared to Explore the Whole Story 

While trauma is often thought of as the domain of mental health professionals, generalist allied health professionals also come across people experiencing trauma-related distress. Ryan will discuss how generalist allied health professionals can prepare themselves to support people who disclose trauma. He will also briefly discuss how generalist allied health professionals can manage their own wellbeing faced with these demanding clinical situations.

SPEAKER 2 - Professor John Hurley: John Hurley is a professor of mental health at Southern Cross University and Vice-President of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.  Academically, Professor Hurley has over one hundred peer reviewed publications, many with a focus on mental health workforce capability development.  

Educationally, John has qualified as a general nurse, psychiatric nurse, gestalt psychotherapist, counsellor, educator and emotional intelligence trainer and assessor. He holds a Senior Fellowship with the Higher Education Academy in recognition of his contribution to mental health nursing education and course development in England, Scotland and Australia.   

Clinically, John maintains an ongoing practice as a credentialed mental health nurse with Headspace through a weekly clinic. He has used his extensive experience in acute community mental health services to focus on the Headspace population with the most complex need. As such he has considerable capability in working successfully with those who are most at risk of suicide.    

Presentation: Professor Hurley will provide an overview of the picture of mental health on the North Coast NSW.  He will outline some of priority mental health issues for North Coast communities, some current challenges and gaps in services, and will acknowledge innovations in practice in mental health in our region.  He will then focus on the context of adolescent mental health, particularly in relation trauma-impacted adolescents, and provide advice for health practitioners on how best to respond to trauma-related issues in their clients, even where practitioners are not directly responsible for addressing that trauma. 

SPEAKER 3 - Alexandra Howard: Alexandra has more than ten years’ experience working in the field of post-traumatic mental health - as a clinical psychologist, educator and specialist in policy and service development. She has worked with disaster-impacted communities, emergency service and military personnel, and traumatic injury patients, as well the professionals who support them. Alexandra’s particular interests lie in understanding and improving psychosocial outcomes for those impacted by disasters and public health emergencies, with a particular focus on marginalised populations, and with a gender lens. She has published in the field of post-traumatic mental health, and has presented her work at national and international conferences. 

Alexandra is employed at Phoenix Australia. For over 25 years Phoenix has been acknowledged as Australia’s National Centre of Excellence in Post-traumatic Mental Health and is an internationally recognised leader in the field, with a mission to understand trauma and renew lives.  

Presentation: Alexandra will present on the range of impacts of trauma, including disaster, as well as how this might present in clients you are working with. It will also include practical information on how you can incorporate trauma-informed principles into your work, including how you can manage trauma disclosure and when to refer on for more specialist trauma support. There will an opportunity for questions, and information on further resources will be provided.  

SPEAKER 4 - Dr Nicola Holmes (She/Her): After growing up in Coffs Harbour and studying medicine at the University of Newcastle, Nicola completed her General Practice training in 2000 with the highest mark in NSW. She has practiced in Coffs Harbour since then including 10 years in adolescent mental health at Headspace Coffs Harbour. She has completed level 2 focused psychological strategies training. She also has a passion for teaching and worked with North Coast GP Training for 10 years training GP registrars. She continues in her educator role working for the Black Dog Institute delivering workshops on mental health skills for GPs and psychologists as well as giving regular presentations to parents of local primary schools on how to nurture children’s mental health and wellbeing. 

Presentation: Nicola will present on the impact of trauma on attachment styles of children and how they may present in a variety of settings.  She will review how childhood trauma impacts on a person’s physical and mental health over the lifespan and how as clinicians, by providing a safe space for our patients, we can help their healing journey through providing healthy attachments and nurturing their sense of identity.



WHEN:  Saturday 26 November 9am-2.30pm

WHERE:  Southern Cross Uni Campus - Hogbin Dr, Coffs Harbour

TICKETS:  $40 NCAHA Members, $60 non-members, Free for students - morning tea and light lunch included


Please note: You may be photographed or filmed for marketing purposes while attending this event. Please advise the organiser if you have questions, concerns, or do not wish this to happen. As an attendee you will be added to the SBP mailing list for event correspondence, follow up and upcoming event information.  The option to unsubscribe is available at any time.

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