terri l. weaver, ph.d. :: exploring the impact of violence on the lives of women and their children

:: Psychology of Trauma

Psychology of Trauma - PSYA-473-01

Instructor: Terri L. Weaver, Ph.D.
Office: 217 Shannon Hall
Office Phone: 977.2198
Office Hours: 1:00 - 2:00 pm W R or by appointment
Class Meetings: MW Shannon Hall, 203, 10:00 - 11:15 am

Course Description and Purpose:

This psychology of trauma course explores the range of posttraumatic reactions.  These reactions, though as varied as victims themselves, can affect cognitive, emotional, biological and interpersonal aspects of functioning.  Students in this course will receive an overview of the prevalence rates of trauma and the theories and range of posttraumatic reactions.  Special topics will be explored with an emphasis on interpersonal trauma, including child abuse, rape, domestic violence, homicide, witnessed violence, combat, and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  The psychology of victim's reactions and victim's experiences of these events will be explored in detail.  Societal, cultural, and historical influences on views of trauma will also be discussed.  This course will not emphasize the psychology of perpetrators of violence though some of these issues may be mentioned.  The course will also have less of a focus on 'why trauma occurs.'    This psychology of trauma course explores the range of posttraumatic reactions.  These reactions, though as varied as victims themselves, can affect cognitive, emotional, biological and interpersonal aspects of functioning.  Students in this course will receive an overview of the prevalence rates of trauma and the theories and range of posttraumatic reactions.  Special topics will be explored with an emphasis on interpersonal trauma, including child abuse, rape, domestic violence, homicide, witnessed violence, combat, and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  The psychology of victim's reactions and victim's experiences of these events will be explored in detail.  Societal, cultural, and historical influences on views of trauma will also be discussed.  This course will not emphasize the psychology of perpetrators of violence though some of these issues may be mentioned.  The course will also have less of a focus on 'why trauma occurs.'

Course Objectives:

  1. Students will learn the prevalence rates for the major forms of traumatic stressors.
  2. Students will be able to identify and describe the emotional, cognitive, and physical sequelae of traumatic stressors.
  3. Students will be able to identify the principal DSM-IV diagnoses following exposure to traumatic stressors.
  4. Students will be able to describe victim’s experiences during and following exposure to traumatic stressors.

Required Texts:

  • Resick, P.A. (2001). Stress and Trauma. Pennsylvania: Psychology Press. (ST)
  • Barnett, O. W., Miller-Perrin, C. L., & Perrin, R. D. (1997). Family violence across the lifespan. California: Sage. (FV)
  • Walls, J. (2005). The Glass castle. New York: Scribner (Castle)
  • See also Reserve Readings at the Pius XII Memorial Library Reserve Website

Course Requirements:

  1. Complete assigned readings prior to class and contribute to class discussions.
  2. Complete two of three scheduled examinations and one final exam.
    There will be three examinations scheduled during the semester and one comprehensive final examination. Exams will include material from the required texts, reserve readings, and class lectures. All students are required to take the final exam. Of the remaining three exams, students may drop their lowest exam score (1 exam). Exams will be multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. Each of the three exams is worth 100 points and the final exam is worth 130 points: a total of 330 points possible. Since students are permitted to drop their lowest exam grade, there will be no make-up exams permitted.
  3. Complete a total of 3 of 4 quizzes.
    Four quizzes will be scheduled throughout the semester with each quiz counting a total of 10 points. Students taking all four quizzes may elect to drop their lowest quiz grade. Material on the quizzes will be selected from the reading materials and the class lectures. There will be no opportunity to make-up quizzes.
  4. Complete four five-page Conceptual/Research Paper
    The papers will be due on February 20, 2008, March 26, 2008, April 9, 2008 and April 29, 2008 and are worth a total of 200 points.

    The papers will be due on February 21, 2011, March 21, 2011, April 11, 2011 and April 27, 2011 and are worth a total of 200 points.  Specific instructions for each paper will be posted on the SLU global website.  Generally, the first three conceptual papers students will use the book, the Glass Castle, and identify specific examples from this autobiographical book to illustrate different aspects of trauma and trauma-related reactions presented in class.  In the fourth conceptual paper, students will identify and utilize a first person trauma narrative  in order to discuss the experience of a traumatic event.  Sample sources for such narratives will be shared with the class.  Again, these are abbreviated instructions, please see SLU global for more detail.  These papers must be written using APA style.  Ten points will be deducted from the paper if the style is not followed.  Seven points are deducted for each day that papers are late.


Bonus Points: Students will be allowed to accumulate up to 10 points of extra credit throughout the course of the semester for participation in research, etc. Point values of different activities will be announced in class. Students may choose to participate in Psychology Department studies approved by the Saint Louis University Institutional Review Board (Guidelines to be provided by the instructor) or in activities announced within class. These points should help to alleviate grade discrepancies which come down to one point.


Psychological Services: Material discussed within this class may activate personal issues. If you find that you are having difficulty coping with these issues, please call: The Saint Louis University Student Health/Counseling Services (977-2323) or Psychological Services Center (977-2278) for on campus counseling.

Other free or sliding scale services available in the community include:
Women's Support and Community Services: (314) 531-2003
Provident Counseling: (314) 533-8200
Life Crisis Hotline: (314) 647-4357
Center for Trauma Recovery: (314) 516-6738


back

©2004 Terri L. Weaver | weavert@slu.edu | Contact Info>

Web Design by BlueKey in Charleston, SC