Advanced Seminar in Complicated Grief: Understanding the Psychology of Trauma
Breyer State University
COURSE OVERVIEW: Welcome GRD 1207, Advanced Seminar in Complicated Grief: Understanding the Psychology of Trauma. This course is part of the Accelerated Doctoral program in Grief Counseling at Breyer State University. It is a 6-hour semester course that must be completed within 6 weeks. The aim of this course is to introduce students to important concepts concerning psychological trauma and its consequences and treatment. Psychological trauma can take many forms and be caused by single events or chronic conditions. Course topics include the anatomy, etiology and consequences of traumatic experience, relevant clinical diagnoses (such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, Dissociative Disorders), and therapeutic intervention with traumatized populations. Unfortunately there are many circumstances in which grief and trauma overlap, such as when a client’s loss occurs in violent or sudden circumstances or when the relationship with the deceased was marked by traumatic features. Understanding the psychological response to trauma is therefore crucial to mastering effective interventions with complicated grief.
Please bear in mind that this is an accelerated program, so you will find the course to be fast-paced and the workload a bit more intense than what is typical in a regular program.
TIME FRAME: GRD 1207 is a 6 hour semester course that must be completed within a 6 week period. You must complete all course requirements successfully within that time period. Week one will begin when you register for the course or, alternatively, the day you notify me via e-mail that you have received the textbook and are ready to begin. Extensions are granted in certain circumstances. You must obtain written approval from the instructor and/or department for extensions.
Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and recovery. New York: Basic Books. ISBN: 0465087302
Armstrong, C. M. (2011). Transforming Traumatic Grief: Six Steps to Move from Grief to Peace After the Sudden or Violent Death of a Loved One. Artemicia Press.
ISBN-10: 0983499918 ISBN-13: 978-0983499916
COURSE ASSIGNMENTS: After completing your required reading for each module as instructed, you will complete your assignment. I will provide feedback and then you will be able to move on to the following module. The written papers/examinations should be approached after you feel you have mastered the material so that you are capable of elaborating on it and applying it as needed instead of merely repeating it. You should try to integrate suggestions and corrections into subsequent work you submit. Remember, do not hesitate to contact me with questions about the course, the material or my feedback.
Module 1: Understanding the psychological experience of trauma and traumatic grief; terror and disconnection; captivity; child abuse; complex PTSD and their link to grief/loss.
Read: Chapters 2-6 in Trauma and Recovery.
Chapter 1 in Transforming Traumatic Grief
Complete Assignment 1
Module 2: the EMERGE method for facilitating recovery.
Read: Chapters 2-9 in Transforming Traumatic Grief
Complete Assignment 2
Module 3: Elements of healing for trauma and traumatic grief: the counseling relationship; establishing safety; remembrance and mourning; reconnection; commonality.
Read: Chapters 7-11 in Trauma and Recovery
Complete Assignment 3
Module 4: Final Project (This will involve applying coursework material to case vignettes, demonstrating a working understanding of traumatic grief and appropriate counseling interventions).
Several factors will be taken into account when I review your work:
1. Content is comprehensive, accurate and all requested information is properly addressed
2. Major points are stated clearly, and are supported by specific references from the literature, details, examples, and/or analysis.
3.Research is adequate for the topic
4.Any concept that is not strictly your own MUST be appropriately referenced using APA style. The correct format for indirect referencing is (Author’s last name, year) at the END of a sentence and (Author, year, p. #) for direct quotes.
5.You are able to show that you are not merely memorizing information but rather are processing it and are capable of applying it to real-life scenarios with clients whenever possible.
1. The introduction provides sufficient background on the topic and previews major points.
2. The structure of the paper is clear and easy to follow.
3. The paper follows a logical structure and concepts are illustrated with examples wherever possible.
4. The conclusion reviews the major points.
1. Sentences are complete, clear, and concise.
2. The tone is appropriate to the content and assignment and qualifies as higher level academic writing.
90-100% will correspond to an A
80-89 = B
Below 70 will be a failing grade.
1. Understand the anatomy of psychological trauma and acute vs. chronic traumatization
2. Understand the psychological experience of terror and disconnection
3. Understand the nature of traumatic grief
4. Learn about some of the common features associated with trauma and traumatic grief (such as complex PTSD)
5. Learn the EMERGE system for facilitating healing in counseling clients with traumatic grief
6. Become familiar with the main tasks of recovery, including safety, remembrance, reconnection and commonality
7. Understand how trauma and grief can overlap and complicate one another and how the counselor can intervene to facilitate recovery
8. Understand how the counseling relationship can be reparative for the client.
9. Apply your understanding to actual case vignettes to cement your working knowledge and be able to utilize it with clients dealing with traumatic loss.