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Working With Survivors of Torture: Approaches to Helping

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About the Course

This is a two article course. Article 1 (Working with Survivors of Torture: Approaches to Helping) Survivors of torture often have physical and psychological scars that are difficult to heal, and too few specialized organizational and professional resources are available to assist in their recovery. In working with torture survivors, social workers must extend their scope of practice beyond what is normally required. In this article, the authors describe 2 case vignettes that illustrate themes and issues common to many survivors of torture.

Article 2 (A Plague of Our Time: Torture, Human Rights, and Social Work) Social work provides services to refugees and immigrants, the groups most likely to have been tortured, and despite this, the professional literature contains little information on torture or torture treatment. In this article, the authors discuss the extent of torture worldwide, review the prevalence of torture survivors in the United States, and discuss populations most at risk and the effects of torture. In the heart of the article, they discuss treatment considerations and resources for social workers involved with torture survivors. Working with survivors requires knowledge about human rights violations; identification of symptoms of torture and survivors reluctant to reveal this part of their past; community context and treatment environments; skills in healing trauma; advocacy; and brokering necessary medical, mental health, legal, and social services.COURSE SYLLABUS
Article I
I. Introduction
II. A Refugee Family from Africa
III. Discussion of the Work with Family C
IV. A Central American Torture Survivor
V. Discussion of the Case of Miss M.
VI. Issues and Implications for Social Work

Article II
I. Introduction
II. Human Rights and Torture
III. The Prevalence of Torture
IV. Effects of Torture
V. Working with Survivors of Torture
VI. Practice Implications

This course is based on the reading-based online article, Working With Survivors of Torture: Approaches to Helping created by David W. Engstrom, PhD and Amy Okamura, MSW, LCSW

Publication Date:

2004/Vol. 85, No. 3

Course Material Authors

Course Material Authors authored the material only, and were not involved in creating this CE course. They are identified here for your own evaluation of the relevancy of the material this course is based on.

David W. Engstrom, PhD

Associate Professor San Diego State University Vice President, Board of Directors Survivors of Torture, International

Amy Okamura, MSW, LCSW

Survivors of Torture, International Lecturer San Diego State University

Course Creator

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for social workers, counselors, psychologists, and other human services and behavioral health professionals who seek knowledge about working with survivors of torture. It is appropriate for participants with all levels of knowledge about the topic.

Course Objectives:

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  1. identify themes and issues common to survivors of torture.
  2. describe general approaches to helping survivors of torture at the individual and societal levels.

Disclosure to Learners

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

CE Learning Systems adheres to the ACCME's Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CE activity – including faculty, planners, reviewers, or others ― are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (formerly known as commercial interests).

The following relevant financial relationships have been disclosed by this activity's planners, faculty, and the reviewer:

Planners and Reviewers

The planners of this activity have reported that they have no relevant financial relationships.

Commercial support

There is no commercial support for this distance-learning course.

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Course Retired
Course Number 100745
2 CE credit hours
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  • Reading-Based Online
Exam Fee $11.94
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