NIU hosts colloquium on stress and trauma

DeKALB – On Feb. 14, 15 and 16, the Northern Illinois University Counseling Program will address trauma head-on through a colloquium workshop with Dr. David Berceli, an international expert in trauma intervention.

In the workshop, Berceli will teach students the principles of stress/trauma and the mind/body connection. He will teach trauma release exercise techniques and how to apply them to professional work. With the rise in veterans returning from war zones, rising violence statistics, the high-stress nature of modern life, trauma and stress are prevalent in our world, and this workshop will be invaluable to those entering the mental health, allied health, nursing, and education professions. The workshop is free and open to all, but registration is required. Participants can register online at 10176651639 or by emailing

The colloquium will address both physical traumas such as injuries and psycho-emotional traumas such as abuse, Berceli said. Participants will take part in a series of exercises designed to release both unresolved emotions and physical tension due to stress.

Amanda Balsamo, chair of the colloquium committee and vice president of the counseling association, said she anticipates the event will be valuable to “helping professionals and helping professionals in training.” Continuing Education Units will be available through the National Board of Certified Counselors.

According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. In some cases, long term effects can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Victims of violence or accidents, returning soldiers, and people who witness abuse, violence, or death are all at risk for trauma symptoms. Additionally, stress, ranging from high to low levels, mimic similar physiological symptoms.

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