Con­fer­ence on trauma work this Satur­day

‘To­tally Dif­fer­ent Treat­ment Cur­ricu­lum’ for trauma debuts

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By Kate Gib­son Staff Writer

HOPEWELL — Sheri Richard­son had writ­ten at least 30 books, mostly about how oth­ers can bet­ter man­age their fi­nances and save money. But when her hus­band died, her whole fo­cus shifted.

“I lost every­thing,” Richard­son said. “It felt like every­thing was pulled out from un­der me.”

In her strug­gle to gain the ground back un­der her feet, she gained new un­der­stand­ing and sym­pa­thy for peo­ple who have ex­pe­ri­enced trauma. She was in­spired to write a new book: “DNA of Mir­a­cles and Wealth Do­min­ion — Big Money Lies!” And now she’s bring­ing her unique un­der­stand­ing of cop­ing with trauma to the Ap­po­mat­tox Re­gional Li­brary on Satur­day with the “To­tally Dif­fer­ent Treat­ment Cur­ricu­lum” con­fer­ence.

The con­fer­ence is free to at­tend, will run from 11 a.m. un­til 3 p.m., and draws from Richard­son’s book, tack­ling the is­sues of trauma, PTSD, sub­stance abuse and sui­cide. She be­lieves many of these is­sues to be in­ter­twined.

“Peo­ple refuse to rec­og­nize trauma as the ba­sis for drug abuse,” said Richard­son, who has lost one un­cle to heroin abuse and an­other to al­co­hol abuse. She be­lieves that sub­stance abuse is­sues could be more ef­fec­tively treated “if you start han­dling trauma and PTSD.”

In her ap­proach to work­ing with trauma, Richard­son uses a va­ri­ety of meth­ods and source ma­te­rial.

“It’s not your grand­mama’s cook­book,” she said of her book from which the con­fer­ence is based. “It’s got every­thing from swear­ing to scrip­tures.”

Guest speak­ers at the event will in­clude Pam Jones, a be­hav­ioral con­sul­tant and Cer­ti­fied Trauma Spe­cial­ist, and Michael Jenk­ins, who has

ex­ten­sive knowl­edge on the Book of Job.

Jenk­ins is glad to do his part “to bet­ter the sit­u­a­tion around PTSD,” he said. “It needs to be im­proved, and it needs to be taught about.”

Elim­i­nat­ing the stigma sur­round­ing men­tal health dis­cus­sion is im­por­tant to Richard­son as well. Some­times peo­ple strug­gling with men­tal health are viewed as lazy, she said, “but you’re not lazy — you’ve got that trauma spirit breath­ing down your back. It has to be worked through.”

Richard­son is part­ner­ing with a num­ber of lo­cal busi­nesses for the event, in­clud­ing John­son Print­ing, who de­signed and printed flyers for the con­fer­ence, and Pee­bles at Colo­nial Heights, who pro­vided her wardrobe for the con­fer­ence.

“I’ve known a lot of

peo­ple who served (in the armed forces) and came back and had is­sues,” said Pee­bles Store Man­ager Mike McGinnis. “There are peo­ple we’ve known who have com­mit­ted sui­cide. This cause clicked in my heart.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, Richard­son hopes to part­ner with a

bank and to have a fore­clo­sure spe­cial­ist avail­able at the con­fer­ence. She knows that fi­nan­cial trou­bles can put sig­nif­i­cant stress on a per­son.

“If I can get (some­one) into a bet­ter fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion with their house, they might not com­mit sui­cide,” Richard­son said.

Richard­son de­scribes her ed­u­ca­tion style is “very un­usual and to­tally dif­fer­ent.”

“But,” she em­pha­sized, “we need dif­fer­ent.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about part­ner­ing with Sheri Richard­son or at­tend­ing this event, con­tact richard­son­sh­eri@ya­

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