Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research and Clincal Practice

Term: Fall 2011

Subject Code: GPSY

Course Number: 6338

"The body keeps score." This quote by Bessel van der Kolk captures two key aspects of the experience of psychological trauma: the physical manifestations of stress and a need for justice. Psychological trauma--including accidents and interpersonal violence--is extremely common and has the capacity to affect people at all levels of functioning: cognitive, emotional, interpersonal and biological. Using current research as a guide, this course will examine both the psychological and physiological impacts of traumatic stress, focusing on interpersonal violence as the stressor. We will also review research on therapy for trauma with an eye to therapy’s shortcomings and novel approaches. This course will also examine political aspects-or keeping score-of how interpersonal violence is perceived by our culture, how trauma is healed, and how justice is pursued in both legal and psychiatric settings. Please note that engaging the material for this course can cause distress.

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