Incoming APA President Thema Bryant to Keynote All-Virtual VCP Conference

Registration is now open for the free online conference on March 10, 2022. Register here.

Trauma recovery expert and incoming president of the American Psychological Association Thema Bryant, PhD., will give the keynote for this year’s virtual VCP conference. The address, “Using Self, Community, and Organizational Care to Combat Vicarious Trauma and Burnout,” will be streamed live from the conference on March 10. The topic holds heightened relevance at a time when service providers in community-based mental health, intellectual and developmental disability, and substance use are under extreme pressure amid the continuing pandemic, workforce shortages, and systemic service gaps across the state. 

“We are in a time of intense trauma as we confront the global pandemic and the trauma of injustice,” Bryant said in a statement for the APA candidacy. “My career in psychology has focused on researching, teaching, and providing clinical care for trauma survivors so that they and their communities can thrive.”

Bryant is a licensed psychologist who has worked nationally and globally to provide relief and empowerment to marginalized persons. She is a professor of psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University, where she directs the Culture and Trauma Research Laboratory. Her clinical and research interests center on interpersonal trauma and the societal trauma of oppression.

According to her website, Bryant is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and directs the mental health ministry at First AME Church in South Los Angeles. She incorporates culturally based interventions in her teaching, research, and practice, such as sacred dance and spoken word in therapy, community forums, and faith communities. She hosts the mental health podcast, Homecoming.

Conference Theme: Promoting Resilience Through Complex Times

The VCP conference – back after last year’s hiatus – annually brings together hundreds of service providers and stakeholders in Vermont’s community-based system of care.. This year’s theme is Moving Forward Together 2022: Promoting Resilience Through Complex Times. The goal is to promote sharing and training for providers across the spectrum of care who are supporting individuals with diverse needs in the context of a pandemic and nationwide mental health crisis. 

In addition to Bryant, featured presentations include:

  • What About Us? Promoting Self-Care in Others by Exploring Our Own Self-Care Practices, with Doug Wysockey-Johnson, Executive Director of Lumunos Wellbeing, a 90-year-old Vermont nonprofit that creates resiliency programs for physicians, nurses, and other front-line health care workers across the country.
  • Supporting the Long-term Impact of COVID-19 in Our Communities, with Melissa Brymer, Ph.D, Psy.D., Director of the Terrorism and Disaster Program of the UCLA/Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress and its National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
  • Moving from Bias Awareness to Action Using the Crawford Bias Reduction Therapy & Training, with Dana E. Crawford, a clinical psychologist who developed the Crawford Bias Reduction Theory & Training (CBRT), a systematic approach to reducing bias, prejudice, and racism.

Other sessions will focus on equity and cultural responsiveness, resilience, racial and societal trauma, reimagining service delivery, and self-determination. Attendees typically include health and human services providers, economic service providers, first responders, educators, state officials, faith leaders, community leaders, peers, translators, and people living with mental health challenges.

“So many people in our state are hurting right now, including kids and our most vulnerable populations. The people who are serving these folks are facing their own issues, including burnout and fatigue,” says Cath Burns, Ph.D., clinical supervisor for COVID Support VT, VCP quality director, and an organizer of the meeting. “This conference is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and figure out how we promote resilience in ourselves, our families, our organizations, and across society so we can move forward from a position of strength.”

Learn More and Register for the Conference

Register here for the 2020 all-virtual VCP Annual Conference, Moving Forward Together 2022: Promoting Resilience Through Complex Times, on March 10, 2022.

Browse the full conference agenda.

Learn more about keynote speaker Thema Bryant:

  • Read the American Psychological Association’s press release announcing her as president-elect.
  • Visit Bryant’s website,

Blog written by Brenda Patoine on behalf of VCN/Vermont Care Partners for COVID Support Vermont, a grant funded by FEMA and the Vermont Department of Mental Health

Need to Talk?

Call 2-1-1 (in Vermont) for assistance.

In Crisis? 

If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825; text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health center for 24/7 support. 

Find Help

Find resources and tools for coping with stress at

One-click translation to 100 languages of most everything on the website, plus Multilingual Resources.

Find your local community mental health center by visiting Vermont Care Partners.

COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Department of Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports. 

Share This