Webinar Summary

Spring 2022

Webinar Summary
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Annual Program of the Trauma Work Group in the NGO on Mental Health at the United Nations

Knowing and Not Knowing About the Climate Crisis: Through the Lens of Trauma and Dissociation.

Irit Felsen

The Trauma Work Group at the NGO on Mental Health in Consultative Relationship to the United Nations is a group that focuses on issues that are close to the hearts and minds of the members of the Trauma Division. We welcome new members and hope some of the readership of the TNL will join our ranks. Our group, the Trauma Work Group, presents a program once a year, on the second Thursday in February. This year, our topic was “Knowing and Not Knowing About the Climate Crisis: Through the Lens of Trauma and Dissociation” a title that harkens back to one of Dori Laub’s most influential papers, “Knowing and Not Knowing Massive Psychic Trauma” (Laub and Auerhahn, 1993).

Dori Laub was a dear friend, mentor, and the closest thing to family for me in the USA, since I came to do my postdoctoral training at Yale University and until his death in 2018. Dori was a child survivor of the Holocaust. He spent his professional life working with trauma survivors, doing clinical work and research, and teaching about the far-reaching effects of trauma and its intergenerational transmission. He worked first with Holocaust survivors and their families, and then was one of the earliest psychiatrists to campaign for what we now call ‘trauma-informed treatment’ for survivors of other mass traumatic events, including Vietnam War veterans and survivors of the genocide in Rwanda.