The Comprehensive Course in International Trauma Studies offers an introduction to the field with a comprehensive overview of the nature of the traumatic events and their bio-psycho-social and cultural impact. This multi-systemic or ecological approach combines clinical and community oriented perspectives in the assessment and planning of intervention strategies with individuals, families and communities. Attention is paid to the socio-cultural and human rights contexts of trauma work as well as the impact trauma work has on providers, their families and organizations. An overview of international perspectives in the psycho-social response to traumatic events includes presentation of guidelines for best practices, development of community and nation based programs, ethnic and political conflict, justice, and reconciliation. Multidisciplinary perspectives on the representation of trauma in the arts, literature and media are presented. The course consists of 9 one and a half day workshops and 9 salons that include didactic, experiential learning, and focus on practical skill building for everyday work and life.

Course Professor: Jack Saul, Ph.D.
Executive Director, International Trauma Studies Program
Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry
New York University School of Medicine

•  Program & Student Coordinator: Susanna Kearney, MPS Art Therapist


 Course Orientation – Introduction to the program and staff members
Guest Workshop Facilitator: Esther Perel, M.A.
Faculty, International Trauma Studies Program, NYU
Family Studies Unit, New York University School of Medicine

Module 1: Trauma, Understanding, Healing and Prevention
 Presenter: Soeren Buus Jensen, M.D. Ph.D.
Director, Global Psychiatric and Psycho-social Initiatives (GPSI) Nairobi, Kenya
Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, International Trauma Studies Program, NYU

Dr. Jensen of the International University Center for Mental Health and Human Rights is co-founder and senior advisor of the International Trauma Studies Program at NYU. He introduces the basic framework for understanding and responding to trauma from a broad-multi-systemic and international perspective, drawn from his experiences across cultures and in different conflict/post conflict situations in Chile (1989-93), as the World Health Organization Coordinator for Mental Health during the war in former Yugoslavia (1994-96), in Rwanda (1997), and in East Africa Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Somalia (2000-present). The presentations engage participants in practicing the requisite skills in dealing with traumatic experiences. Special focus is placed on how to stimulate protective factors and resiliency, how to mobilize family and community, and how to work with trauma in a human rights context. Attention is paid to vicarious traumatization and self care strategies for care providers.

Salon 1: Mapping Trauma: A Multi-systemic Approach

• Module 2: Approaches to Trauma Treatment within a Public Health Framework
Presenter: Claude Chemtob, Ph.D.

Visiting Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY
Director, Stress Disorders Laboratory, National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,
Pacific Islands Division, Department of Veterans Affairs, Honolulu, Hawaii

This module explores the nature of trauma and its bio-psychosocial impact. Dr. Chemtob presents an evolutionary perspective, survival mode theory, as well as explores the impact of trauma at different stages of psychosocial development. He presents an overview of clinical interventions with individuals, and present a public health approach to working with trauma populations.

Salon 2: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Trauma Treatment
Presenter: Steven Reisner, Ph.D,

Senior Advisor: International Trauma Studies Program, NYU
Adjunct Professor, Clinical Psychology, Teacher’s College, Columbia University
Adjunct Professor, Psychoanalytic Institute of NYU School of Medicine

• Module 3: Trauma and Loss in the Family
Presenter: Pauline Boss, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Family and Social Science, University of Minnesota
This module examines the impact of loss and traumatic experience on family systems and subsystems – parental, marital, and siblings. Author of Ambiguous Loss (Harvard, 1999), Dr. Boss presents a framework for working with families that have suffered traumatic and ambiguous loss. The module explores interventions with individuals, families, and multi-family groups.

Salon 3: Vicarious Traumatization: Care for Individuals and Organizations

• Module 4: Enhancing Resilience in Families and Communities Following Massive Trauma
Presenter: Judith Landau, M.D
President of Linking Human Systems, LLC
Senior Advisor: International Trauma Studies Program, NYU
Visiting Professor, Division of Adult Psychosocial Medicine, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, Colorado

Dr. Landau focuses on how to mobilize family and community resources towards resilience rather than vulnerability, including techniques for eliciting and understanding family themes, scripts, strengths and resources, and techniques for intervening in families. She presents a framework for understanding the cultural contexts and dimensions of trauma and its impact on communities and society at large. Her model for promoting community resilience includes assessment of available resources and vulnerabilities, enhancing collaboration between natural and auxiliary support systems, and methods for building long-term recovery and sustainability in communities that have been impacted by disaster and massive trauma.

Salon 4: Trauma, Resilience, and Group Process


• Module 1: Stress, Community, and Culture
Presenter: Stevan Hobfoll, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor and Director, Applied Psychology Center, Kent State University
and Kent State University Center for the Treatment and Study of Traumatic Stress

This workshop covers Conservation of Resource (COR) Theory and its application to the contexts of trauma, personal relationship factors, and interface with workplace. Particular emphasis will be placed on researching resources.

Salon 1: Researching Resources

• Module 2: International Psychosocial Interventions
Presenter: Nancy Baron, Ed.D.

Co-Director: Global Psychiatric and Psycho-Social Initiatives (GPSI) Nairobi, Kenya

This workshop provides a theoretical framework for community-based work with conflict-affected populations focusing on culture, assessment and community. The class develops a format for a basic needs assessment and works with a group of refugee community leaders on developing a survey of their community.

Salon 2: Refugee Mental Health
Presenter: Renos Papadopoulos, Ph.D.

The Tavistock Clinic and Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies
University of Essex - United Kingdom

• Module 3: From Individual to Societal Trauma
Presenter: Vamik D. Volkan, M.D., DLFAPA, FACPsa

Founder of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction (CSMHI) and
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia

This workshop introduces participants to Dr. Volkan’s work on societal trauma. The workshop covers the resistance to change in individual and societal trauma, trans-generational transmission,, the concept of “chosen trauma”, large group regression, and methods of dealing with traumatized societies dealing with ethnic conflict.

Salon 3: Justice and Reconciliation

Salon 4: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Trauma in Children
Presenter: Laura Murray, Ph.D.

Center for the Advancement of Children, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute

• Module 4: The Use of Expressive Therapies in Working With Traumatized Children and Their Families
Presenter: Eliana Gil, Ph.D.

Director of the Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy
Coordinator of the Abused Children’s Treatment Services of Inova Kellar Center
Fairfax, Virginia.

This workshop teaches skills in the assessment and treatment of abused and traumatized children and their families through play, sand, and art therapy.

Salon 5: Revitalization of Culture Through the Arts
Invited Speaker: Arn Chorn-Pond

Director of the Cambodian Master Musicians Project, Phnom Phen, Cambodia
Film: The Flute Player by Jocelyn Glatzer

• Module 5: Narrative Approaches to Trauma
Presenter: Jack Saul, Ph.D.

Director, International Trauma Studies Program, NYU

This workshop offers a theoretical framework and methodology for employing narrative approaches to working with survivors of political violence. Strategies of testimony and witnessing in a variety of contexts will be examined including psychotherapy, oral history, media, and the arts.

Project Presentations: Thursday and Friday evening with end of year graduation dinner

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