WIR408 - Migration and Trauma

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Schools offering this subject
Last revision date Oct 12, 2012 3:11:53 PM
Last review date Oct 12, 2012 3:11:53 PM

Subject Title
Migration and Trauma

Subject Description
This course focuses on introductory concepts of pre and post migration trauma experienced by various immigrant populations. There will be an emphasis on different types of trauma, the implications of social identities on ways in which trauma is experienced, as well as different responses to trauma and the impact of trauma on women, men, youth and children. The course will further provide the opportunity for students to critically analyze various coping/healing strategies and learn about the existing community resources so that they can provide appropriate information and referral. Topics include a wide array of traumatic events including, trauma associated with war; torture; displacement; gender violence and sexual abuse; natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and the trauma of awaiting immigration status in the Diaspora, death and dying. Relying on their acquired social service worker skills, students will further learn about vicarious trauma and self-care while working with diverse immigrant and refugee populations.

This is an introductory course in understanding various forms of trauma faced by immigrants. We acknowledge that many students in the class may have experienced traumatic events in their own lives. However, students are highly encouraged to avoid using personal experiences in weekly discussions as this course is not oriented towards teaching counseling or clinical skills. This course uses arts-based and participatory activities in order to teach students valuable skills to enhance their knowledge about trauma, community resources and appropriate referrals.

Contextual Information:

Trauma, both natural and human made, causes many kinds of suffering, including displacement, and forced migration. It leaves people vulnerable to various forms of physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological harm. Professionals working with immigrants and refugees often come across individuals who have faced intersections of pre-migration experiences such as war, torture, violence, and loss as well as post-migration barriers during the settlement process in their new countries. Research suggests that the experience of trauma leaves a long-term negative impact on individuals. As a result, many survivors of trauma rely on their strength, resources, and resiliency care for themselves and their families/communities. Traumatic experience can disconnect an individual from her/his community.

In North America, trauma recovery often follows medical or psychological diagnostic models based on individual symptoms, scales and check-lists such as PTSD. Many professionals are unaware of the cultural validity of these tools and lack insight to immigrants? reliance on their personal and cultural values in interpreting their experiences and finding ways to address the effect of their suffering. Similarly, professionals must bear in mind that immigrants are not a homogeneous group and that vast diversity exists among them. For instance, men, women, youth and children experience and react to trauma differently. For these reasons, it is crucial that social service workers providing services to immigrants distinguish between different forms of trauma, its impact on various populations, and individual?s preferred healing modalities. This knowledge will further equip social service workers with the skills necessary to identify their client?s needs, refer them to appropriate community resources, and engage in advocacy work for social change and social justice.

Credit Status
One credit

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Define the concept of trauma
2. Describe different types of trauma experienced by
various immigrant populations
3. Distinguish among the impact of trauma on displacement,
migration and resettlement
4. Identify the issues of social identities and ways in
which trauma is experienced
5. Describe the impact of personal, cultural, age, and
gender differences in defining and responding to trauma
6. Describe the levels of formal and informal
healing/recovery modalities
7. Identify ethical consideration while working with
survivors of trauma
8. Identify useful community resources for referral based
on individual needs
9. Identify vicarious trauma and self-care while working
with immigrants and refugees

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Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.