Psychology of Stress and Trauma

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

How do we cope with war, natural disaster, or terrorism? What about surviving experiences with abuse or torture? How are these experiences different or similar to routine life stresses like exams, moving, or getting divorced? How can you prevent or treat psychological problems that might arise after trauma? These are some of the overarching issues that will be addressed in this course.

As reflected in the media, our current global community has experienced seemingly overwhelming levels of trauma; recent years have seen sharp increases in the numbers of natural disasters, as well as a shift toward increases in civilian exposure to war and terrorism. Moreover, a surprising number of Americans report exposure to other types of trauma such as abuse or assault. In some individuals, traumatic experiences may result in significant psychological difficulties, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and physical health problems and may increase the likelihood that they experience future trauma. Numerous treatments have been found to prevent later problems and or to treat problems related to response to trauma.

This course will introduce students to the field of traumatic stress. Through lecture, discussions, projects, and in-class activities, students will gain an understanding of how humans cope with trauma, what factors (i.e., aspects of the trauma, social support, personality and coping style, biology and genetics) predict who will have difficulty coping with trauma, and how we can treat trauma.

Course Objectives:
• Foster interest in how we cope with stress and trauma
• Identify the range of outcomes associated with stress and trauma, including effects on health
• Gain an understanding of which aspects of the trauma, the individual, and the larger social context influence how individuals cope with trauma
• Increase familiarity with major psychological outcomes of severe trauma
• Provide exposure to the major empirically supported treatments for trauma
• Develop college-level skills in critical thinking and writing
• Provide information for those considering a career in trauma-relevant fields, allowing such individuals to make informed choices regarding career aspirations

Prerequisites: None

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPY0924
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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