ACAP’s Trauma and Resilience Studies Programs | Overview
ACAP Trauma and Resilience Studies Programs (TRS) ACAP’s TRS programs explore the relationship between Trauma and Human Development and its potential as the foundation for life-long resilience.
ACAP’s TRS programs uniquely benefit a wide variety of individuals, including those in mental health, academia, emergency services, medicine, nursing, law enforcement, and education, seeking to understand how trauma and human development coexist in our adaptation to life crises and as potential foundations for resilience.
The program examines how individuals and groups respond to a range of trauma: from developmental challenges, to overwhelming experiences involving social, economic and interpersonal events, to natural disasters, terrorism, and war. Students immediately begin developing the theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential to trauma management. They learn to address and evaluate critical/crisis issues in current work and life situations.
In addition to attaining a deep understanding of the meaning and repercussions of trauma on the human psyche and emotions, the program has two primary goals. First, to build and enhance students’ competencies in observation, exploration, active listening, communication, collaboration, strategizing, and managing groups during overwhelming events. The second major goal is for students to identify the origins and effects of vicarious trauma, burn-out, and other negative stress reactions on those in trauma related fields. Students acquire effective strategies for reducing the impact of secondary trauma, so as essential personnel they can deliver services safely.
ACAP’s programs are built on the modern psychoanalytic treatment and research method. Students study the interplay of conscious and unconscious motivation and behavior, resistance and defense mechanisms, and transference and counter transference responses. They learn to recognize patterns of interaction between constitutional and environmental factors that begin in infancy, influence personality development, carry through into adult life, and form the foundation for how we characteristically and repetitively respond to life crises. This theoretical groundwork provides a basis for assessing and addressing individual and large scale trauma responses. Externship and practicum experiences offer opportunities for students to integrate knowledge and apply it, developing intervention strategies promoting resilience (adaptive pathways) in the face of crisis, in their placement settings.
The Trauma Studies programs open new vistas of expertise within current work settings and professions, or can be the foundation for entering new fields.
The purpose of the ACAP Master of Arts program in Trauma Studies is to
enable students to:
- Understand the mental and physiological origins of traumatic reactions as coping outgrowths of challenging personal-developmental-relational phenomena and/or a life event involving natural disaster, disease or violence, and distress from other causes outside of one’s control,
- Recognize trauma responses as adaptation in both healthy and pathological forms, representing early life coping patterns.
- Identify the complex processes underlying trauma reactions,
- Comprehend the adverse impact of “secondary trauma”, vicarious trauma, on the therapist, care provider, first responder and all personnel involved in minimizing the impact of overwhelming experiences,
- Experience the range of feelings involved in working with trauma victims and learn personal, resilience strategies for tolerating overwhelming experiences and helping others through them, and
- Learn to design practical and strategic interventions that diminish negative trauma/crisis responses, and build resilience both preventively and in delivery of trauma minimization services.
The classroom as clinical laboratory utilizes both academic and emotional learning systems and focuses on helping students integrate the nuances of the trauma response process and subtleties of resilience-building strategies.