The Trauma Recovery Lab

Many children are exposed to potentially traumatic events such as car crashes, the sudden loss of a loved one, disaster, and violence. While most children recover well, between 15 and 20% of those exposed to severe stressors develop persistent posttraumatic stress symptoms.

The Trauma Recovery Lab within MUARC (Monash University, Australia) aims to understand and facilitate children’s and families’ recovery from traumatic stress. We use a mix of research methods with an emphasis on quantitative, observational approaches (e.g., the EAR, a device to sample sounds in participants’ daily lives), combined with qualitative, interview research.

The Lab’s research has 4 focus areas: 1) the role of emergency professionals in trauma & recovery; 2) the role of family members in trauma & recovery; 3) the consequences of fatal domestic violence; and 4) psychosocial care for children and families in post-conflict areas.

Emergency professional – child interaction We study how emergency professionals provide ‘psychological first aid’ to children, what their views on psychological aspects of their work are, and which questions they have. Based on an interview project with staff of the Emergency Department of the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and contacts with other groups of emergency professionals, we currently conduct a global study of professionals’ knowledge and use of psychological first aid principles when caring for children and their families.

Parent – child interaction We conduct studies to a) describe the nature and correlates of parental communication with children in the aftermath of a traumatic event; b) identify differences between parent-child communication after trauma and in normal situations; c) understand how patterns of parent-child communication shortly after are related to children’s long-term recovery. Data collection takes place at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and in general population samples.

Fatal domestic violence We investigate the circumstances, care trajectories and outcomes of children who have been bereaved by parental intimate partner homicide. We also study predictors of fatal child maltreatment, and how professionals may be able to intervene. The basis of our studies lie in the Netherlands, but we are extending these to Australia as well.

Psychosocial care in post-conflict areas We are developing this new area with the goal of testing and improving the evidence base for psychosocial care programs in post-conflict areas. We are currently conducting a literature review and consulting with professionals in the field to develop further projects.

Our research is done in the context of national and international collaborations (with groups in the US and the Netherlands among others), and has a strong focus on clinical practice and education.

We would love to extend our team! There are a number of opportunities, e.g.:

  • Honours/PhD research projects: Honours, PhDs with a focus on mental health, child development, communication, social media, statistics/methodology, etc.
  • International Postdoc projects: develop your Marie-Curie IOF, Fullbright, Endeavour or equivalent proposal with us
  • Internships: we welcome interns from any discipline (from history to industrial design and from engineering to journalism)
  • Research translation & communication projects: we collaborate with communities and professionals who want to improve children’s mental health by gathering, translating and/or communicating research findings.

Interested? Please get in touch by sending your CV and a short description of your motivation/ideas to Eva Alisic (eva dot alisic at monash dot edu)!

2 thoughts on “The Trauma Recovery Lab

  1. National Stop deaths in Custody Coalition-mental and physical health and cultural identity
    -DICWG FNQ believe that medical assessment and treatment of male inmates at Lotus Glen and female inmates at Womens Townsville Correctional falls into the category of callous neglect that has already ended up in a death in custody like the 22 year old in western AUSTRALIA.
    In Lotus Glen C.C .we have been trying to avoid yet another death in custody in our Far North Queensland Region.- “The William Mallie story”- It goes on and on. Remember a Death in custody in his unit last year.Then parole board looked like seeing him home but delays persist- he is now getting dialysis and is 1 of 5 in custody having this treatment. He only received good treatment after gangrene again set in again and we kept agitating.NO SATISFACTORY COMMUNICATION FROM L.G.C.C. TO EXPLAIN DELAY IN TREATMENT OF INMATES OR THEIR POSSIBILITY FOR PAROLE
    In W.T.C.C,.4 Western Cape ladies are self harming, attempting suicide Mildred Hall is one who is now beginning to start a cultural program so necessar to address her isolation The .feedback has started with Kaynarah MacDonald Indigenous forensic psychologist who is helping with some inmates learning wikmungkan .
    Dr Carl Hughes investigations and discussion with Dr Ernest Hunter confirmed difficulties of traditional people so far from homelands, language ,culture with no people they can trust becoming suicidal-We still have no protocols for accurate cultural representatives despite 20 years of native title courts establishing correct representation
    No feedback comes from Lotus Glen that has mass incarceration of Aurukun inmates 60 of a population of 1,000 in that community. Lotus glen has 500 first nation inmates who mostly .speak creole or language but mainstream guards Ignorant of cultural orientation.
    Our intention has been to mediate with all the relevant parties to get a group working ,holistically and culturally with an emphasis on accurate cultural representation. For those who have been helpful we thank you , but protocols are still needed and we do hope we can get a working arrangement as the wheels are turning so slowly. We need the assistance of all the bodies of the National Stop deaths in Custody Coalition to agitate before we have yet another death in custody.and universities that want action as well as research in our area imprisonment and human rights and Indigenous specific programs to overcome mass incarceration 60/1000 statistical rate = 6,000 in 100,000 shocking!!

    • “The William Mallie Story” has now ended… He died in prison on 14/05/2016. Extremely sick for 3 days no contact was made to our family he passed away at 3pm and his next of kin was called at 3am 15/05/2016. It break my heart thinking of how long he was left there to die, did anyone check on him. If his health was looked after in prison and not neglected he would still be alive today. The saddest thing is he was meant to be coming home to us in a month or two. Ultimately he was sentenced to life in prison. Even though our hearts a breaking there has to be justice and recommendations implemented so my Uncle’s death had not been in vane. Those who neglected his health and requests for realise have to be held accountable. He is now another statistic.

      We know where to start but something has to be done.

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