Trauma Responsive Social Work (SW)

Trauma Responsive Social Work is a Program of Study. You must be accepted first to SSA's Social Work and Social Welfare (SW) program and then by the Program of Study. SSA students apply to Programs of Study during their first year.


The Trauma Responsive Social Work (TRSW) Program of Study is for Clinical Practice students and seeks to create a community of trauma-responsive learners and practitioners across policy and clinical settings. The central goal is to become practiced with trauma-responsive work, meaning students feel more competent, confident, and responsive to trauma-based needs in clients, wherever they may encounter them. The program aims to educate students in the values, principles, and skills that organize the behavior of practitioners using trauma responsive approaches.

Emphasis is placed on four core values:

  1. Developing a perspective on trauma work that emphasizes adaptation over diagnosis.
  2. Working from a strengths-based framework that assesses structural and interpersonal barriers, both currently and historically, that impact the client system.
  3. Practicing trauma conceptualization from a neurobiological perspective of how trauma shows up in the body and mind.
  4. Modeling a community-based response by engaging together, in and out of settings beyond the academic space.


Students will complete an Independent Study Course. They will also choose eight trauma informed workshops to attend, for which they will complete reflections and meet with the program coordinator to discuss. Learning will occur through multiple methods including structured consultation meetings, brown bag speaker sessions, specialized field placements, and site visits.

Field Placement

The Field Education Office and the faculty of the Program of Study will provide guidance on where students can find placements.

Career Opportunities

Students will develop a professional identity as trauma-responsive and will benefit from increased marketability upon graduation. This program provides opportunities to build community among students and faculty with interest/knowledge in structural, interpersonal, and embodied trauma.


Shipra S. Parikh, PhD, LCSW