The course will introduce students to clinical practice issues and intervention approaches with individuals and communities that experience violence, chronic adversity, and trauma. The class will include attention to communities living in low resource, humanitarian and post-conflict settings outside the U.S and immigrant and refugee groups in the U.S. Our focus will be on individuals and communities impacted by politically motivated violence and oppression including war, torture, genocide, gender-based violence among other human rights violations.
Effective practice in this area is anchored in a conceptual framework that orients the student to social justice, formulations of complex trauma and a set of cross-cultural competencies informed by this framework. To that end, the class will introduce students to feminist perspectives of trauma, concepts of historical trauma, indigenous perspectives on illness and health and resilience and posttraumatic growth and examine their usefulness in framing and informing international practice issues and intervention approaches. We will use in-depth case studies from inside and outside the U.S to illustrate important contextual conditions (legacies of dominance and trauma, war, social determinants of mental health, intergenerational trauma) and to inform discussion of sustainable models of collaborative, cross-cultural work (stage based, strengths focused, participatory). Students will be introduced to issues that impact international/cross cultural practice, such as vicarious trauma and resilience, working in resource-poor settings, working across systems of meaning and distress, training and collaborating with local practitioners and community members and working with interpreters. Given the specialized nature of this course, it recommended that students have previous exposure to and experience with theories and practice approaches for trauma-affected individuals.