In it for the Long Haul: Trauma-Informed Practices for Sustaining Liberatory Work

April 10th @ 12p EST and 11th until 6p EST | Virtual

Join us for "In it for the Long Haul: Trauma-Informed Strategies for Sustaining Liberatory Work," which will take place virtually on April 10 and 11, 2024.

Speaker highlights include Dr. Gabor Maté on Day 1, and senior VISIONS consultant Emily Schatzow and her longtime collaborator, Dr. Judith Herman, on Day 2. 

We are excited to announce a special musical guest-- Holly Near will be closing out the Summit on Day 2!

Anti-oppression work is emotionally demanding at the best of times, and this event aims to equip individuals with insights and strategies for navigating and sustaining their commitment to equity, social justice, and peace for the long haul. We will consider trauma-informed approaches at both the individual and community/group level.

Who Should Attend:

  • Social justice advocates, activists and organizers
  • DEI practitioners and professionals
  • Peacebuilders and conflict resolution specialists
  • Mental health professionals with an anti-oppression focus
  • Anyone committed to making the world a peaceful and more just place

Summit Schedule

Day 1: April 10, 2024

12:30 ET    Virtual doors open

12:45 ET    Welcome and opening remarks

1:00 ET      Talk followed by Q&A with Dr. Gabor Maté - "Compassion Fatigue: Caring for Ourselves while Caring for the World"

2:30 ET      Break

2:45 ET      Ellen Morrison, LCSW & Dr. Leena Akhtar - "Orienting Our Nervous Systems Toward Justice: Practices for Trauma-Informed Self Care"

4:15 ET      Break

4:30 ET      Integration session 

5:30 ET      Closing with musician & spoken word poet Tim Hall

Day 2: April 11, 2024

12:30 ET    Virtual doors open

12:50 ET    Day 2 welcome & overview

1:00 ET      Emily Schatzow & Dr. Judith Herman “Organizational and Group Strategies for Preventing Burnout” (talk followed by Q&A)

2:30 ET      Break

2:45 ET      Workshop with Dr. Haley Sparks: "Rest and Replenishment: Caring Strategies for Maintaining Liberatory Work”

4:15 ET      Break

4:30 ET      Integration session

5:30 ET      Summit Closing with special musical guest Holly Near!

Register Today

Presenter Bios

Day 1: April 10, 2024


Dr. Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté (pronounced GAH-bor MAH-tay) is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of five books published in nearly 40 languages, including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness.  For his ground-breaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. His most recent book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture is a New York Times and international bestseller.

Ellen Morrison, LCSW

Ellen Morrison, LCSW collaborates with groups and individuals in catalyzing their efforts toward equity, bringing attention to the analysis of power as a core element of interpersonal and organizational change. Her work as a DEI consultant is informed by twenty-five years of experience as an administrator and therapist in community mental health, inspired by a lineage of movement building and impacted by an intentional personal journey in understanding her relationship to power and privilege. Ellen is a skilled facilitator with extensive experience working across diverse groups in educational, clinical, organizational and social service settings. Her trauma informed and relational approach contributes to prioritizing the integration of restorative practices including popular education pedagogy to develop curriculum and facilitate experiential learning. She has a psychotherapy practice as well as a consultancy focused on antiracism and organizes with the Bay Area Chapter of SURJ. She also serves on the board of Diversity 2000: a non-profit and community dedicated to the development of diverse social justice leaders, thinkers and practitioners.

Ellen Morrison
Leena Akhtar (she/her), VISIONS Director of Programs & Consultant, Northampton, MA

Dr. Leena Akhtar

Based in Western Massachusetts, Dr. Leena Akhtar brings a perspective she developed having grown up and lived in several different countries to her diversity and inclusion work. After starting her career in finance, she engaged in trauma studies at NYU and then earned a PhD from Harvard University. She has extensively researched and worked on issues of cultural change around discrimination, harassment, and power-based violence in organizations and institutions, work that she continues to do via her consultancy, The Greater Us, in addition to collaborating with VISIONS.

Day 2: April 11, 2024

Dr. Judith Lewis Herman

Judith Lewis Herman M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry (part time) at Harvard Medical School. For thirty years, until she retired, she was Director of Training at the Victims of Violence Program at The Cambridge Hospital, Cambridge, MA. She is the author of the award-winning books Father-Daughter Incest (Harvard University Press,1981), and Trauma and Recovery (Basic Books, 1992). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim fellowship in 1984 and the 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In 2007 she was named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Her new book, Truth and Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice, was published in March, 2023.


Emily Schatzow

Ms. Schatzow is a psychotherapist and trainer. She is co-founder of a local women’s mental health center, together with her colleagues. She developed theory and practice that challenged existing paradigms by seeing mental health as a byproduct of economic, social, political, and cultural realities. She has a graduate degree in counselor education from Boston University. Currently, she is Clinical Supervisor at the Victims of Violence Program at Cambridge Health Alliance and is a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Haley Sparks

Dr. Sparks takes the lead on VISIONS's mental health services program. She received her PhD in the Personality and Social Contexts area of Psychology at the University of Michigan and Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Dr. Sparks has worked as a therapist with individuals, couples, families and groups and currently serves as the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in External Affairs at the University of California-Los Angeles. In her free time, she loves trying different exercise classes, traveling, and hearing people's stories.


Guest Artists

Holly Near

Singer, songwriter, and activist Holly Near boasts a career spanning over 50 years. She is known for her unwavering commitment to advocating for change through her music and performances, which are loving, challenging, funny, thought-provoking, and always rooted in progressive movements around the world. Many of her songs have become movement anthems.

Throughout her career, Holly has integrated her art and activism, addressing issues including militarism, sexism, racism, and homophobia. As an outspoken performer and ambassador for peace and justice, Holly brings a unique integration of local and global consciousness and self-reflection, always learning and sharing her perspectives and experiences both humbly and boldly.

You can also check out the archive that Holly curated, "Because of a Song”, to lift up nationally influential artists based in the  feminist lesbian music scene in Oakland, California. Visit her website: https://hollynear.com/


Tim Hall

Tim Hall is an award-winning educator, artist, and entrepreneur, from Detroit, MI, who now resides in Boston, MA. He draws inspiration from his lived experiences - charting the nuances of blackness, masculinity, and the beauties of life. As a musician, Hall has shared stages with world-renowned recording artists such as The Nappy Roots, Carolyn Malachi, Bilal, Chris Turner, and Aloe Blacc. His poetry has been heard at Boston's Hub Week, The Museum of Fine Arts, Berklee College of Music, Outside the Box Festival, Bridgin' Gaps Festival, and many other venues and poetry slam communities around the Boston/Greater Boston area.

Tim is an Assistant Professor in the Professional Music Department at Berklee College of Music, is the co-owner of HipStory - a digital media production company dedicated to creating and showcasing the work of marginalized identities within media, and Board of Trustee with the American Repertory Theater. Tim was honored as “Session Musician of the Year” by the 2020 Boston Music Awards, and recognized by WBUR’s Artery 25 as 1 of 25 millennials of color impacting Arts and Culture in Boston.

Continuing Education Information

Learning Objectives

Day 1: April 10, 2024

Dr. Gabor Mate | "Compassion Fatigue: Caring for Ourselves while Caring for the World"

As a result of attending this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the nature of stress and its physiological consequences.
  2. Distinguish three major stressors: Loss of Control, Uncertainty; and Conflict.
  3. Discuss how the early environment “programs” us physiologically and psychologically into chronically stressful patterns of feeling and behaviour.

Ellen Morrison, LCSW & Dr. Leena Akhtar | "Orienting Our Nervous Systems Toward Justice: Practices for Trauma-Informed Self Care"

As a result of attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize the role of emotional labeling and somatics in self and community care. 
  2. Describe at least one nervous system response to potentially traumatizing experience.
  3. Identify two strategies for mitigating the impact of potentially traumatizing experience.

Day 2: April 11, 2024

Emily Schatzow & Dr. Judith Herman | “Organizational and Group Strategies for Preventing Burnout”(talk followed by Q&A)

As a result of attending this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe at least two group strategies for burnout prevention
  2. Identify the three stages of organizational development 
  3. List at least two organizational strategies for burnout prevention

Dr. Haley Sparks | "Rest and Replenishment: Caring Strategies for Maintaining Liberatory Work”

As a result of attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain why rest and care is the foundation of liberatory work
  2. Identify at least three different kinds of rest and other forms of care
  3. Describe at least two strategies for realistically incorporating rest and care into daily life

Vigorous Interventions in Ongoing Natural Settings, Inc. (VISIONS, Inc.) has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7400. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Vigorous Interventions in Ongoing Natural Settings, Inc. (VISIONS, Inc.) is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

This program is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886744521-3516) for 6 continuing education contact hours.


Refund and Cancellation Policy

If the Spring Summit is canceled by VISIONS, participants will receive a full refund. Participants who no longer plan to attend may request a refund up to 24 hours prior to the start of the Spring Summit.