Unit Description

This unit will provide students with the Process Oriented approach to working with trauma and abuse.

This unit will provide students with the Process Oriented approach to working with trauma and abuse. The unit presents contemporary trauma theories, including Attachment theory; psychological disorders that may develop in the aftermath of traumatic events; recent neuroscience research on how trauma affects the brain, and non-verbal somatic and experiential interventions.

Students will develop knowledge and skills in working with the body and somatic awareness, the Metacommunicator, signal reading skills and the sensitive use of feedback to ensure that edges are negotiated with gentleness and awareness. The holistic understanding of the human being developed by students in the Masters course to date will be applied in analysing case studies and client presentations for trauma and abuse. An energetic and contextual understanding will be discussed in class and in case studies. Some specific diagnostic categories according to the DSM-5 will also be covered. Links will be made with attachment theory where appropriate.

Students’ own issues are usually a part of the experiential learning at Metavision. Issues of trauma and abuse can be easily triggered. Self-awareness of students’ own vulnerabilities is developed with professional support from their own inner work with counsellors or psychotherapists. It is vital in this work to safeguard both students and clients. Inner work and self-reflection continue to be an integral part of the unit.

Unit Code


Unit Type

Core Unit

Study Period

Year 2, Semester 1

Credit Points


Unit Coordinator

Elsa Henderson

Consultation Times

30 minutes before and after workshop intensives and by appointment during the semester

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Articulate an integrated holistic, somatic and process oriented approach to working with trauma and abuse
  2. Demonstrate skills in facilitating safe and authentic relationships with clients
  3. Skilfully apply and analyse non-verbal skills and experiential and creative methods for working with trauma
  4. Differentiate approaches for assessing and working with child sexual abuse, sexual assault, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and domestic violence
  5. Appropriately identify when to refer clients for treatment by psychiatrists and other health professionals, and demonstrate effective referral skills
  6. Articulate the impacts of vicarious trauma and develop self-care plans
  7. Recognise when their own vulnerabilities are unresolved or triggered and seek appropriate therapy and/or supervision

Graduate Attributes

Attributes Statement
Ethical practice and integrity Our graduates will demonstrate high ethical standards in their practice and follow professional Codes of Ethics to do good (beneficence) and avoid harm (maleficence)
Professionalism Our graduates will have a highly developed understanding of their work roles and responsibilities and uphold a high level of professional conduct in their work
Holistic awareness Our graduates will have an in-depth understanding of how the physical body, the psyche and mind/ spirit/self are in constant interaction and relationship with each other and with the environment
Communication Our graduates will have well-developed written and oral communication skills, including listening deeply and receiving, interpreting and transmitting complex information, on many levels of awareness with colleagues, clients and the community
Critical thinking Our graduates will have critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate and analyse information and make informed professional judgements

Delivery Mode

Workshop intensive on-campus, Start of Year 2 Semester 1

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

12 hours in total.

Online delivery

3 x 1.5 hour Zoom discussions. Total = 4.5 hours Synchronous Online Training.

Study Buddy activities

26.25 hours over the semester, guided by lecturer

Student Workload

The total unit workload is equivalent to 8.53 hours per week over the semester, 136.5 hours in total.

  • 12 hours on-campus workshop intensive
  • 4.5 hour Zoom discussions
  • 26.25 hours study buddy work, with lecturer involvement
  • 93.75 personal study hours

Available in Courses

This unit is available in the following courses:

Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Holistic Practice)

Created: April 28, 2021, 4:48 p.m. • Updated: March 4, 2024, 4:52 p.m.