Unit Description

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


Consultation Times

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

Topics Covered

  • The neuropsychobiology of trauma
  • Trauma presentations: acute and chronic
  • Forms of trauma and their impacts: developmental trauma, child sexual and physical abuse, adult sexual assault, domestic violence, captivity and war trauma
  • Process oriented approaches to trauma recovery
  • Safety in the therapeutic relationship
  • Vicarious traumatisation and post traumatic growth

Learning Outcomes

  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

test graduate attribute

Delivery Mode

Workshop intensives on-campus

Workshop Intensive 1:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Workshop Intensive 3:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Online delivery
1.5 hour Zoom discussion mid-semester

Student Workload

(Student Work Load)

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: April 4, 2022, 9:21 a.m.