Swinburne and Access launch support program for women facing trauma

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Womens Trauma Program team

Swinburne student Jessica Mejia, Dr Danielle Williamson and Clinical Therapist David Eckel have developed a support program for women experiencing trauma.

In summary

  • Swinburne has partnered with Access Health and Community to offer a support program for women experiencing trauma
  • The program aims to help women exposed to sexual, physical or emotional abuse.

Women traumatised by sexual, physical or emotional abuse will have access to psychological support under a partnership between the university and Access Health and Community.

Swinburne and Access Health and Community have developed the Women’s Trauma Recovery Program, to be rolled out next year.

The Trauma Recovery Program is a specialised treatment program specially designed for women who experienced an overwhelming event or series of events in their lives that could be classified as a trauma.

Clinical Psychologist and Swinburne lecturer, Dr Danielle Williamson, has spearheaded the program, and hopes it will become a support network for women experiencing interpersonal trauma.

“Survivors of interpersonal trauma often cope on their own for many years before seeking help,” she explains.

 “I hope that the program will support women in speaking the truth of their experience, in finding a sense of belonging and connection.”

Dr Williamson is working closely with David Eckel, Senior Clinician at Access Health and Community.

Mr Eckel says the partnership between Swinburne and Access Health and Community was born from a mutual desire to help students, clients and the community.

“After meeting Dr Danielle Williamson, our discussions lead to creating a partnership with the aim of offering a counselling program focused on trauma recovery,” Mr Eckel says.

“The inspiration for this arises from a desire to offer a trauma recovery program to the public that is accessible and low cost.”

How the program works

The program will be divided into two stages and cost $350 and $124.80 respectively, with medicare rebates available for people with a referral from their medical practitioner.

The first stage will offer an opportunity to connect with others while learning skills that help with coping with trauma-related symptoms. These sessions will take place at the Swinburne Psychology Clinic.

The second treatment package involves up to ten sessions of individual counselling focused on processing traumatic experiences. These sessions will take place at Access Health and Community.

The Swinburne Psychology Clinic has given Swinburne students the chance to become involved in the program.

Jessica Mejia is currently completing her Masters of Clinical Psychology at Swinburne, and expressed an immediate interest in the program.

“When the Women's Trauma Recovery Group Program was released for expressions of interest I quickly made contact and set up at time to meet with Danielle and David,” Ms Mejia says.

“I had Danielle for a few lectures in my course and admired her approach and work in this area.”

Ms Mejia says working on the program has given her the chance to observe psychology in a practical sense.

“It has been a great opportunity to see how theory comes to life in practice,” she says.

“As the program commences, I foresee many more learning opportunities such as furthering my skills in group facilitation and assessment.”

Dr Williamson is confident the program will be a great help to women experiencing interpersonal trauma.

“In a previous workplace, I had been involved in trauma treatment programs and had witnessed how helpful it can be for women,” she explains.

“We are really excited to be able to offer this program.”

To learn more about the program and to find out how to be involved, visit the Womens' Trauma Recovery Program Webpage.