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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 of Relevant Financial Relationships

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

CE Learning Systems, LLC is an independent provider of continuing medical education. CE Learning Systems, LLC has no proprietary or financial interest in medical or healthcare products over which the FDA (USA) or EMA (EU) has regulatory authority.

In accordance with our disclosure policies, CE Learning Systems, LLC is committed to ensuring balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor for all accredited continuing education. These policies include assigning relevance to, and mitigating, all perceived or real conflicts of interest between any individual with control over the content and any ineligible company (commercial interest).

Any individual with control over accredited content, including planner, faculty, and reviewer, is required to globally disclose:

  1. Individual relationship(s) or lack thereof, and its nature, with any/all ineligible company, and
  2. any investigational, off-label, or non-FDA approved content or discussion

CE Learning Systems, LLC has reviewed these disclosures, assigned relevance based on the relationship and scope of content, and identified those with the potential to compromise the goals and educational integrity of the education. Relevant relationships, or lack thereof, are shared with the learner.

Education has been independently peer-reviewed to validate content, mitigate identified conflicts of interest, and ensure:

  1. All recommendations involving clinical medicine is based on evidence that is accepted within the medical profession as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients.
  2. All scientific research referred to, reported, or used in accredited continuing education in support or justification of a patient care recommendation conforms to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis.
  3. Content is appropriate, fair and balanced, unbiased, referenced, and non-promotional.

The planners have reported the following: There are no relevant disclosures.

Course Material Authors

The authors have disclosed any disclosures within the material.

Course Creator: Max Schwanekamp
There are no relevant disclosures.
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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