Webinar: Trauma and Physical Disabilities: Another Perspective


February 10th, 2022

9:00 AM - 11:00 PM


The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma presents a webinar by Violet Horvath, Ph.D., MSW, MFA, director of the Pacific Disabilities Center (PDC).

When: Thursday, February 10, 2021 – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. HST
(11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PST)
Zoom Webinar links will be sent via email
Appropriate for all levels
Registration fee for this session is $50
Earn 2 Continuing Education Credit Hours!
For an additional $25, attendees can earn 2 hours of Continuing Education credit.
Register online at the IVAT website.

Trauma is defined essentially as “a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time” (Merriam-Webster, 2021). By extension, then, receiving a diagnosis of a serious medical condition and/or physical disability may be viewed as a traumatic experience that may result in ongoing mental or emotional issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) report that six in 10 adults in the United States have a chronic disease. One in four adults in the United States has a disability (Okoro et al., 2018, as cited in National Institute for Health Care Management, 2020).

While many individuals have received such a diagnosis and medical treatment, anecdotal evidence suggests that mental and emotional needs are going unmet. Physicians focus on medical issues. Those in the helping professions may mistakenly assume that physicians are addressing these needs. As a result, patients are left on their own to deal with life-changing (and sometimes life-threatening) circumstances. They may become depressed, anxious, isolated, or suicidal. They may fear a loss of income or independence, and not know who to turn to for assistance. Family members and friends may not understand the situation, or know where to find help.

This presentation starts with the idea that being diagnosed with a serious medical and/or physical disability can be a traumatic event. It offers anecdotal information that suggests that the mental and emotional needs of persons with these diagnoses are not being addressed, by either physicians or others in helping professions. Finally, it covers factors that may temper or buffer the impacts of these serious diagnoses and offers suggestions for working with affected individuals and their families.