Sign Up for Email Updates

Course Description

To date, the majority of trauma therapy interventions have focused primarily on the individual. Except for within the couple and family therapy field, relational impacts and healing resources within trauma survivors’ relationships have generally been overlooked. Research has shown that when trauma survivors’ intimate relationships are strengthened, their ability to cope with the impacts of post-traumatic stress is also strengthened.

In addition to individual interventions, this course intentionally examines therapeutic interventions from systemic perspectives. It integrates interpersonal and intrapersonal approaches that are useful in helping clients heal from the impacts of trauma. The course will encompass a broad range of trauma experiences (e.g., intimate violence, sexual abuse, natural disasters, witness to violence, war, political terror, vicarious trauma) and its impact on the therapist.

The course is conducted through presentations, interactive discussion, readings, experiential exercises, case vignettes and/or video tapes. You are expected to actively participate throughout the course. There will be less emphasis on didactic lecturing from the instructors; thus, you are required to take significant responsibility for your learning.

The course is designed for counsellors, therapists, social workers, mental health workers, and pastoral/faith-based and other practitioners seeking to build or enhance their practical skills and theoretical foundation in couple and family therapy, as well as those exploring therapy as a career.

This course is typically recognized by CACFT and AAMFT as a couple/marriage and family therapy course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Articulate the impacts of trauma on individuals, couples, families and communities using a systems theory framework
  • Implement effective trauma therapy assessment and intervention approaches with individuals, couples and families
  • Examine the therapist's role and presence in working with clients' experiences of trauma
  • Work collaboratively with clients in ways that honour hope, social inclusion, diversity, equity, empowerment, resistance, resilience and strength
  • Explore tenets of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout, in addition to protective factors and the concept of vicarious resilience

Course Topics

  • What is trauma?
  • Historical Context, Contemporary Views
  • The Impacts of Trauma
  • A Systemic View of Trauma Work
  • Positioning Ourselves to Respond Effectively
  • Assessment
  • Interventions

Additional Requirements

  • Prerequisite course: Theories and Methods of Family Therapy: Foundations of the Field.
  • Note: If you wish to take the course but have not completed the prerequisite, please contact our main office.
  • As well as scheduled instruction time, you can expect to spend approximately five to ten hours per week on course readings, activities, and/or assignments.
  • Course assignments are completed up to four weeks following the final day of the course.


Assessment Item Weight
In-Class Participation 15%
3-2-1 Reflections 25%
Group Presentations 40%
Final Video Reflection 20%
Total 100%

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.


Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.

Required fields are indicated by .