Skip to main content

Systemic Cultural Oppression: Traumatic and Dissociative Effects

About the Course:

Cultural context shapes the presentation of complex trauma. Oppression is one aspect of cultural experiences that is particularly relevant in a discussion of complex trauma and dissociation. This workshop examines three oppressive characteristics of culture that participate in the development of complex trauma. The presenters will explore the concept of social capital and how it shapes disadvantage and ultimately creates the conditions for the intergenerational perpetuation of complex trauma and dissociation. The presentation focuses on the experience of Palestinians in the West Bank, the plight of incarcerated individuals in the US, and the relationship between refugee status complex trauma and dissociation. This presentation hopes to expand the definition of the dissociative processes by exploring the interplay between socially oppressive environments and interpersonal trauma and the development of dissociative disorders.

This course is based on the recorded webinar, Systemic Cultural Oppression: Traumatic and Dissociative Effects created by Heather Hall, MD, Rick A Hohfeler, PsyD, and Susan Gutwill, MS, LCSW in 2020.

Publication Date:

May 2020

Course Material Authors

Heather Hall, MD

Dr. Hall is a board-certified adult psychiatrist. She has over thirty years of experience. She combines her expertise in psychopharmacology and psychotherapy in developing a treatment plan tailored to the needs of each individual. Before establishing her private practice, Dr. Hall was an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF and then UC Davis. She is currently on the board of directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and specializes in the treatment of complex trauma. Dr. Hall is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton MA. She completed her medical training at Drexel University in Philadelphia PA and her psychiatric training at The Institute of Pennsylvania hospital, also in Philadelphia.

Rick A Hohfeler, PsyD

Dr. Richard Hohfeler received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in 1986. He is a clinical psychologist who has maintained a private practice in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area for the past 30 years. Dr. Hohfeler has specialized in psychological trauma since 1988 as co-manager of an inpatient program treating survivors of abuse at Rogers Memorial Hospital where he also co-managed an inpatient program treating children and adolescents. He continues to treat adults, children, and adolescents suffering from disorders associated with severe developmental trauma in private practice, as well as with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Dr. Hohfeler is a faculty member of the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he teaches courses in trauma and dissociation. He is a member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), has presented at their annual conferences, and was elected to their Board of Directors in 2016. Since 2014 he has acted as moderator for the Virtual Book Club sponsored by ISSTD.

Dr. Hohfeler has provided supervision and consultation to therapists and case managers from a variety of agencies in the Milwaukee area for the past 20 years. His consultation affiliations have expanded internationally through his active involvement with the ISSTD professional organization. In 2018 he published an article entitled “Relationally-Based Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in Prison: Processes of Control, Shame, and Dissociation.”

Susan Gutwill, MS, LCSW

I have an AbD in Sociology and taught in inner city community colleges and at Rutgers University. In 1980, I got an MSW from Rutgers University. During my tenure at Rutgers and subsequently, I worked in a labor union counseling members and retirees. Five years later I trained at and helped build the Women’s Therapy Centre Institute, where I learned and taught psychodynamic work. The WTCI is an Institute that does not separate the personal from the political, and my work there continues.

For decades, I have been an active member of APA Division for Psychoanalysis, Section 9: Psychoanalysis for Social Responsibility. I long been involved in the study and treatment of trauma and dissociation and specialize in a) how as it creates distorted body image and eating problems of all types as well as b) how traumatizing political, social and cultural realities affect individuals and groups. I just returned from a US/UK Palestinian Network for Mental Health.

Course Creator

Sandi Cardaman

Sandi Cardaman has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor for more than 15 years. She has worked with eating disorders, domestic violence and clients who are working with the dependency system.

Recommended For:

Counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and social workers. This course is appropriate for all levels of knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Understand and define “social capital.”

  2. Recognize the differences in presenting symptoms for individuals from the lowest social capital neighborhoods

  3. List the antecedents to neighborhoods and communities with low levels of social capital

  4. Identify how antisocial presentations can disguise dissociative processes

Use our CE Approvals tool to look up your state requirements and how can help you meet them, or log in to your member account to show approvals relevant to your licensure.

American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD)

5.5 CE Credit hours

More Info

American Psychological Association (APA)

5.5 CE Credit hours

CE Learning Systems is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

More Info

Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)

5.5 CE Credit hours

More Info

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

5.5 CPD hours

More Info

Course Material

This material is available to purchase for $149. For your convenience, has arranged with ISSTD to make it available for purchase right here. » More info

Exam Questions

All exam questions for the course are visible on this page for members of

Membership is free, and you can sign up today! You'll only pay when you're ready to purchase a course, or if you take advantage of the Unlimited Package.

If you're already a member, please log in to see the exam questions for this and all other courses.

Course Number 102837
5.5 credit hours
Log in for credit hours relevant to your licensure.

  • Recorded Webinar
Exam Fee: $32.84 No exam fee with a membership package!
5 out of 5
1 member has taken this course


  • Is this course approved for my continuing education requirements?

    Yes, most likely. Look Up Your State Board for more detailed information. Logged-in site members will see the relevant approval information displayed in the Approvals tab for every course.

  • Do you have special accommodations for my disability (ADA)?

    Please contact us! We would be happy to accommodate your needs right away, and your input will help us make more accessible for future users too.

  • How do I enroll in this course?

    Use the Enroll In This Course button and just follow the instructions! You don't pay anything until you're ready to take an exam.

  • What do I have to do to complete the course?

    To complete the course, review the course objectives, then review the material, and then pass the exam with a score of 75% or greater and lastly complete an evaluation.

  • How do I access the materials?

    Most of our courses are based on online articles available for free to the public. Some courses, such as those based on books, require that you purchase the material. Use the Course Materials tab above for more info. You don't need to enroll in the course to access materials, whether free or paid. So you always know what you're getting into before you commit to taking the course.

  • How do I get my certificate?

    Your certificate will be available to download or email immediately when you pass the course exam and complete the evaluation.

  • Can I contact you for more help?

    Yes! Use the Help widget at the bottom-right of the screen anywhere on to search our help docs, or to ask our support team for help.

Try a free CE course.

Get started by trying a free course of your choice. No payment info required!

Sign Up Free
Abstract image of people, a PC and books