Confronting Trauma

Ongoing course
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Trauma is a global burden, adversely affecting human development, world development, and even world peace. Trauma has not received the attention it deserves, or treatment the support it needs. The contribution large-scale trauma healing could make to enhance social, economic and cultural productivity, as well as individual educability, creativity and well-being, could well be historic. Recent developments have the potential to bring on this large-scale healing, for humanitarian and peace operation staff, and for the global population. This open, self-paced advocacy presentation aims to raise awareness and influence policy decisions to support and implement these new developments and help bring an end to the insidious and unnecessary suffering that trauma wreaks worldwide.


The overall aim of this module is to introduce the international humanitarian, development and UN communities to the large unmet need for psychological trauma care and therapy. It starts by describing the different types of stress and trauma and the dire consequences these can have. After the description of the magnitude of the problem, the module then presents some recent innovations in the field of psychology that have opened up dramatic new possibilities, which hold the promise of an effective response at scale. Going to scale, in turn, poses new challenges and opportunities to the main stakeholder audiences for this module.

At the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Describe the four types of stress and traumatic stress
  • Illustrate the global burden of trauma
  • Describe three approaches to trauma care/treatment used in this course
  • Describe three factors that facilitate scaling up of trauma treatment
  • Summarize why global trauma should be included in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Recall elements of a successful World Plan for Trauma Treatment
  • Argument for the expanded treatment of trauma to key stakeholders

Content and Structure

The course is composed of five lessons:

  • Lesson 1: Psychological stress and trauma
  • Lesson 2: The global burden of trauma
  • Lesson 3: Traumas: prevention and treatment
  • Lesson 4: Scaling up therapy
  • Lesson 5: Towards a world plan for trauma treatment

The average work time is estimated at 1 hour.

Target Audience

Primary audience: The course is designed for high level decision makers who can help shape global policy on trauma treatment, including diplomats, policy makers, politicians, donors, journalists, humanitarians, civil society and other human development leaders.

Secondary audience: The course is also geared towards students and any persons or groups with an interest in understanding and advocating for the better treatment of trauma worldwide.

Participants are not expected to have any prior experience or knowledge to take this course, other than:

  • Having a good command of the English language (reading and writing);
  • Being computer literate.

How to register