A review of the first in our centenary talks series

An excellent review by Audrey Gregory of the Friends of Reading Museum (FoRM) Book Group, looking forward to our next talk on Tuesday!

Dunsden Owen Association Talks

As the four-year commemoration of WW1 draws to a close in Autumn this year, the Dunsden Owen Association has chosen to mark this one hundredth anniversary with a series of themed talks.

Held in the beautifully renovated and extended Village Hall, which, in previous times, served as the Village School where the young poet, Wilfred Owen, taught during his time in the parish, the themes for the series of talks are historic in ways that resonate still with contemporary concerns.

The first, held in July, on the subject of Shell-Shock and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), was given by Professor Suzanna Rose, a Reading University academic and clinical practitioner with the Human Shield organisation. Her presentation was richly informative, charting firstly, the long history of PTSD, from recognition of the condition in Homer’s Odyssey to current understandings of ‘3rd generation’ inherited effects of trauma, a recently emerging area of research.

In this wider context, the audience was reminded of trauma treatments given during WW1, including the ‘talking cure’ practised by Dr Rivers at the renowned Craiglockhart Hospital in Scotland, where Wilfred Owen was a patient for a short time, together with his fellow-poet, Siegfried Sassoon; and
of the increased impact of trauma on civilians during WW2. Drawing on significant and intriguing recent research, we were also shown that new definitions of PTSD related to trauma call increasingly on brain activity measurements and physical movement, linked to the processing of memory from short to long-term.

In concluding her fascinating talk, Professor Rose showed that both historical perspective and continuing research inform approaches taken today towards trauma and disaster counselling; the approach now advocated being to screen carefully and treat as appropriate, avoiding over-prescription or intervention but, rather, monitoring closely the experiences and needs of the individual, in this way calling on important new understandings in the field of brain research.

The three FUTURE SESSIONS in the SERIES to be held in the AUTUMN are:

• Tues 11th Sept Indian Soldiers in the Great War
• Tues 9th Oct Tunnelling for Victory in WW1
• Tues 27th Nov Quakers in WW1 and their response to conflict today

The Venue: Dunsden Village Hall, RG4 9QG
£4 on the door . Refreshments . Parking available

Audrey Gregory
Friends of Reading Museum

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