Centre for Continuing Education

The Nature of Trauma Course

Psychology. Explore the human mind.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: arrangement of our courses

Our courses will be moving to online delivery from Monday 23 March.
We aim to continue to deliver a high-quality educational experience through interactive, online classes in real-time.
If you are currently enrolled in a course with us, we will be in touch soon with options for your enrolment.
Please familiarise yourself with our terms and conditions which have been updated with amendments in response to COVID-19.

Trauma is now more familiar to the everyday person than it has ever been. Very few of us are unaware of and untouched by trauma. Learn about the nature of trauma and what makes some people more vulnerable to the longer term effects of trauma. You will understand post traumatic stress disorder and how it is treated. Find out how you can support yourself, a family member or a friend who may have been traumatised. Awareness of how people who have been traumatised may react is an important first step in healing.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the nature of trauma and how it can impact people
  • understand how PTSD is diagnosed using DSM-5, the diagnostic manual health professionals utilise
  • identiy some of the treatment approaches for people affected by trauma.


This course covers the following topics:

The nature of trauma

  • What is a traumatic event
  • Essential components of trauma
  • Trauma and its various forms
  • How does trauma impact on the body/brain
  • Populations at particular risk
  • Secondary trauma

Acute Stress Disorder

  • What is Acute Stress Disorder
  • Who gets it
  • Symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder

What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Definition of PTSD
  • How and why does PTSD develop
  • Vulnerability factors

The causes of PTSD

  • Example of causes of PTSD

The trauma response

  • Why some people just don’t get over it
  • Factors influencing traumatic response
  • Marginalisation
  • Spirituality

Factors which may increase the likelihood of developing PTSD

  • A description of factors that may increase the risk of developing PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD

  • A description of symptoms of PTSD
  • Diagnostic criteria
  • Associated problems such as abuse of drugs and alcohol, relationship difficulties, distrust of others, sadness, low self esteem

Strategies to deal with Acute Stress Disorder and PTSD

  • Treatments for trauma
  • Arousal reduction techniques
  • Overcoming avoidance and numbing
  • Grief and loss issues
  • How family, friends, carers and therapists can support someone who has been traumatised
  • Self-care for family, friends, carers and therapists

Intended audience

Suitable for people who are looking for an introduction to trauma. It is designed to introduce people to psychological aspects of trauma.


American Psychiatric Association, 2013, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed), Arlington, VA, USA.

Creamer, M, Forbes, D, Phelps, A, & Humphreys, L 2004, Treating Traumatic Stress: conducting imaginal exposure in PTSD. Clinician Manual, Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health Inc. Australia: Media Technology.

Forbes, D, Phelps, AJ, McHugh, AF, Debenham, P, Hopwood, M & Creamer, M, Imagery Rehearsal in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Nightmares in Australian Veterans with Chronic Combat Related PTSD: 12 Month.

Friedman, M J, Resick, PA, Bryant, R A, Brewin, CR 2011, ‘Considering PTSD for DSM-5’, Depression and Anxiety, vol. 28, no. 9, pp. 750-69.

Giarratano, L 2004, Managing Psychological trauma. Clinician and Client Resources for the Clinical Skills Series, Talomin Books, Australia.

Herbert, C, & Wetmore, A 2001, Overcoming Traumatic Stress. A self-help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques, New York University Press, New York.

Lanius, R, Brand, B, Vermetten, E., Freewn, PA, & Spiegel, D 2012, ‘The dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder: Rationale, clinical and neurobiological evidence, and implications’, Depression and Anxiety, vol. 29, pp. 701-708. doi: 10.1002/da.21889.

PTSD Coach Australia App for Android and iOS.

Scheeringa, MS, Zeanah, CH, & Cohen, A 2011, ‘PTSD in children and adolescents: toward an empirically based algorithm’, Depression and Anxiety, vol. 28, pp. 770-782. doi:10.1002/da20736Schiraldi.

The Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health

Van der Kolk, B, The Body Keeps the Score. Memory and Evolving Psychobiology of Post Traumatic Stress.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Free, expert advice
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • The facilitator was fantastic... a great presenter. No faults at all.

  • Thank you for the wealth of information and discussion afforded to us throughout this course. The presenter was so thorough and responsive, and this made for easy participation and satisfaction with the day. I very much appreciated the relaxed atmosphere and a fine lunch too!

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the course. The facilitator gave excellent examples and really encouraged attendee participation. I will definitely recommend the course to my work colleagues.

  • The course was enjoyable because it was punctual and because there was humor. Interaction between attendees and the host was encouraged, where questions put forward were answered.

  • I found this course had an excellent tutor – very knowledgeable and calm, who also encouraged involvement from the class.

  • Such a great tutor. A very well presented and discussed topic. I walked away hungry to know more.

  • Good well-paced course. Our tutor managed the different levels and interests of participants really well. I particularly liked the empathy they demonstrated with us.

  • Very interesting course – worthwhile attending.

What others say.

  • Thank you for the wealth of information and discussion afforded to us throughout this course. The presenter was so thorough and responsive, and this made for easy participation and satisfaction with the day. I very much appreciated the relaxed atmosphere and a fine lunch too!
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