2nd semester: Wednesday evening                                                                   (Min. No. 8)



This unit will explore the experience of trauma as a consequence of: industrial disasters, natural disasters, tragic accidents, domestic violence, child abuse, assaults and murder, terrorism and war. It will begin by helping the student to develop a broad understanding of trauma and its impact on human development and relationships. It will then focus on trauma experiences which are beyond our control, such as natural disasters. It will then explore trauma that arises from domestic conflicts and accidents. This will be followed by an exploration of complex trauma which emerges as a consequence of international conflict and terrorism. The unit will explore theological perspectives on trauma, and of the place of pastoral and spiritual care for victims of trauma.

PREREQUISITES: DP1001Y: Foundations for Pastoral Practice. An interview with the lecturer will be required prior to enrolment in this unit


Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. understand and articulate a broad understanding of the complex experience of trauma
  2. critically analyse and compare the key elements of a range of traumatic experiences
  3. articulate, analyse and reflect psychologically on specific experiences of trauma
  4. articulate, analyse and reflect theologically on specific areas of trauma demonstrate an understanding of various intervention strategies in the treatment of trauma and illustrate this through examples of pastorally integrated practice


Critically review two key articles or book chapters 1000 words (20%); essay: an exploration of two key areas of trauma, comparing and contrasting the theory, experience and intervention 1500 words (30%); essay: understanding traumatic experiences, exploring psychological and theological perspectives, and pastoral implications 2500 words (50%)


BIBLIOGRAPHY *set texts recommended for purchase

*Herman, Judith L. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. 1992. Reprint, New York: Basic Books, 2015.

*Van der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma. London: Penguin Books, 2015.


Anderson, Ray S. Spiritual Caregiving as Secular Sacrament: A Practical Theology for Professional Caregivers. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2003.

Briere, John, and Catherine Scott. Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2014.

Courtois, Christine A., and Julian D. Ford, eds. Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models. New York: Guilford Press, 2013.

Joseph, Stephen. What doesn’t kill us: The new psychology of posttraumatic growth. London: Piatkus, 2012.

Sanderson, Christiane. Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2010.

Walker, Donald F., Christine A. Courtois and Jamie D. Aten, eds. Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy for Trauma. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2014.

Wilson, John P., and Boris Drožđek. Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, War and Torture Victims. New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2004.