Managing trauma

We recognise that many addictions and eating disorders arise as a means of attempting to manage the distress of trauma, neglect and relational misattunement in childhood. The Birchtree program enables individuals to gain skills and strategies in Emotion Regulation, addressing their addiction and/or eating concerns within a specialised trauma focused program. We view addictions and eating disorders as problems that need to be managed, as well as symptoms of underlying discontent. The Birchtree program enables both management of the current presenting problems as well as processing and healing over time of the past concerns.

Birchtree is also a research centre in which studies into all components of the Birchtree program are regularly taking place. All Birchtree therapists frequently attend national and international conferences on Trauma, Addiction, and Eating Disorders.

At Birchtree, we also offer internships to postgraduate clinicians. We consult to various Government and Non-Government organisations on providing a trauma sensitive therapeutic space, as well as in working within a trauma frame. Many of our clinicians teach at the various Universities in Sydney on topics such as Attachment, Complex Trauma, DBT and Psychotherapy.

Why the Birch tree?

We chose the Birch Tree as our emblem because of its relationship to survivors of complex trauma. The Birch Tree is highly adaptable. Proof of this adaptability is seen in its easy and eager ability to repopulate areas damaged by fire or storms.

Bright and beautiful, the birch is a pioneer, courageously taking root and starting anew to revive the landscape where no other would before.

This is a powerful metaphor for our lives.

The birch asks us to philosophically go where no other will go (voluntarily or otherwise).

The birch asks us to take root in new soils. Similarly, to arrive at genuine expression, it is often necessary for humans to conquer inner areas that were frozen because they were not used due to different traumas.

Paradoxically, while the birch is a symbol of renewal, it is also symbolic of stability and structure.

Birch is symbolic of beginnings, renewal and starting over. Ancient Europeans also held the Birch as a symbol of hearth and home. Bringing in birch twigs inside the home is a physical intention of invoking protection.

As a Chinese symbol, Birch is honoured for its attributes of protection, communication and rejuvenation. The Birch was one of the first trees to grow after the Ice Age and is one of the first to sprout leaves each Spring.

The soft, feminine, almost fragile appearance of the Birch belies her hardy nature. The birch tree represents the trust in a new time to come in which the invisible shall unfold again with new force.

Trainings and Workshops

Birchtree Centre has developed and delivered numerous trainings and workshops over the years, to both clinicians and non-clinicians, informing them of what the trauma informed approach is, and how to work with a trauma lens through their interactions.

Past Birchtree Trainings in NSW include:

  • HETI Grant to Dept. of Health Coffs Harbour Sexual Assault, Mental Health and AOD Depts
  • HETI Grant to Far West NSW Dept of Health – Orange and Broken Hill – Traumatic Brain Injury Unit
  • 5 trainings in Orange at Centre for Rural Mental Health for Bloomfield Hospital nurses and allied health, as well as private local clinicians
  • 5 trainings in Dubbo for Dept of Health and private local clinicians
  • Training in Port Macquarie for Northern NSW Dept of Education School Counsellors
  • Training in Tamworth for Headspace, Dept of Health and private local clinicians
  • Training in Tamworth for Northern NSW School Counsellors
  • 2 trainings at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney for AOD, allied health and mental health depts.
  • 3 trainings for Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury allied health clinicians
  • Training for Albion Street HIV Ambulatory Care Centre staff
  • Training for Museum of Contemporary Art Educators
  • Training for Gidget Foundation Allied Health clinicians
  • 2 Trainings for Headspace Parramatta, Castle Hill and Broken Hill
  • Training for Ramsay Northside Allied Health Clinicians
  • Training for NSW Law Society
  • Training for the Office of the General Counsel, NSW Dept. of Justice
  • Training to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Sexual Assault and Child Protection Units