SW 626 Doctoral Seminar in Trauma and Human Rights

3 credits

In this course, students will examine in-depth the theoretical and empirical literature pertaining to trauma and its relation to human rights. Through original and authoritative source material, we will consider the possible causes and implications of trauma at diverse system levels (e.g., individual, community) and over time (e.g., intergenerational transmission). We will critically analyze research and modes of practice in relation to interventions designed to address prior traumatic experiences and human rights violations and to prevent their future incidence. Students will have the opportunity to explore their own areas of interest in trauma, and consider how current evidence can be integrated into the assessment and treatment process in order to promote human rights.


After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate advanced understanding of the diverse causes, forms, and consequences of trauma and its relation to human rights.
  2. Identify how trauma affects individuals, both intra-individually (e.g., neurological and psychological) and interpersonally (e.g., family dynamics), including trauma-related disorders and post-traumatic adaptation.
  3. Analyze the role of external factors (e.g., social support, material security) in shaping post-traumatic responses, including exacerbating stress or enabling resilience.
  4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of current controversies in past and current trauma research, and potential practice and policy implications. 
  5. Identify how evidence pertaining to trauma can be integrated in the assessment and treatment process, and used to advance direct practice interventions.
  6. Articulate the value of a trauma-informed approach in direct practice with client systems that have experienced trauma and/or human rights violations.