Inside the Classroom: Systems of Trauma Treatment

Written by SA-Worker18 student
September 24, 2015

?This Fall Quarter, students primarily within the school's couples and family therapy program-the Master of Arts in Relationship & Pastoral Therapy-will engage the complex and critical area of "trauma" in family, individual, and spiritual systems. This new course, taught by Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Cobb, is STMC 5750's "Systems of Trauma Treatment." Students from all of the school's degree programs have been welcomed to take the course as well and some will be participating--out of both interest and need to better serve families, individuals and groups intersecting life challenges and traumas.

Dr. Cobb comments:

"This class is particularly exciting for me because this is the first time that it has been offered at Seattle University and its School of Theology and Ministry. In my own clinical work, I specialize in the systemic treatment of trauma. My research also focuses on a particular area of trauma--intimate partner violence. I recognize that this can be a difficult topic to discuss within the classroom context, but I truly am excited to discuss it in helping to train students how to provide competent trauma informed care within a supportive and safe environment."

Throughout the next few months, students will examine the manifestation of trauma--utilizing resources from research, family systems theories, and theological reflection. Students will learn individual and systemic methods of assessment and intervention for the care and treatment of trauma. Dr. Cobb will facilitate intentional discussions on the impact of trauma on the spiritual self, as well as therapists' own methods of self-care--as they examine topics such as: post-traumatic stress disorder, child abuse and neglect, elder abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, illness, grief, and loss.

One distinctive feature of this class is that select experts will be joining the learning community as guests, having specialized in the treatment of particular types of trauma. One guest, Susana McCune, is a clinical psychologist who has written Advance Care Planning: Communicating About Matters of Life and Death . Another guest, Letha Meyers, is the Volunteer Services Manager at Seattle's Crisis Clinic and engages diverse trauma circumstances directly in addition to managing systems of support within the clinic for therapists and service providers to serve clients. These guests will not only give insiders' perspectives on working with specific populations dealing with trauma, but will also teach students how to collaborate with other mental health care professionals in the community.

As a part of required coursework, and because Dr. Cobb recognizes the heavy nature of course content, students will log their reactions to course readings and document at least two hours of self care weekly throughout the quarter. Students are encouraged to be creative in the expression of their thoughts and feelings about course content. These weekly logs are required to be hand written, rather than typed, and may include poetry, artwork, and even doodling-in the hope of encouraging self care even in the process of completing the logs. At the end of the quarter, students will submit a potentially publishable paper that they will be encouraged to submit for publication and/or presentation at a professional conference.

To learn more about the Master of Arts in Relationship & Pastoral Therapy?-a couples and family therapy program, and other courses like this one: visit here, and/or contact Colette Casavant via ?/ (206) 296-5333.