Video | 00:57:42

Look Back to Move Ahead: Social Work for Survivors of Trauma

by Carol Tosone
Two vignettes portray social work students working with clients affected by trauma and learning from their supervisors how to approach the sensitive material these clients present.


Look Back to Move Ahead: Social Work for Survivors of Trauma
Working with clients impacted by trauma can be overwhelming for new social work students. Look Back to Move Ahead presents two vignettes which focus on interns new to the treatment of trauma. The video follows their experiences meeting new clients, hearing their difficult stories, and working with supervisors for guidance in handling these sensitive cases.

The first vignette shows the initial session between Nicole, a Caucasian second-year social work student, and Diane Johns, an African-American survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Diane is experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and shares her frightening memories of the storm with Nicole. She also makes allusions to the racial difference between them, leaving Nicole uneasy and with many questions. The video then shows Nicole meeting with her supervisor to address not only ways to help trauma survivors like Diane, but also how to handle sensitively work with racial differences between a client and a counselor.

The second vignette features two meetings between social work student Rasheen and her new client, Caroline. Caroline is a college student who seeks help from her school's counseling center where Rasheen is placed. She tells Rasheen that she is uncomfortable in her new relationship because of disturbing memories she has of her stepfather sexually abusing her. These clips show Rasheen's discomfort with such serious information, and the many questions she has for her supervisor. Rasheen's supervisor helps her understand several important facts about trauma treatment, including the unique way traumatic memories are processed and the prevalence of negative coping skills among trauma survivors. Rasheen uses her supervisor's insights to approach her next session with Caroline more confidently.


Look Back to Move Ahead is wrapped up by the two featured supervisors, Dr. Tosone and Dr. Figley, who discuss key points in the treatment of trauma and how this work affects social work students. Finally, the video summarizes ten key points to keep in mind when working with survivors of trauma, including the need for a client's experience to be validated and the importance of self-care for the clinician.
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If you are interested in working with trauma survivors but you're unsure if you're prepared to do so, you'll find this video very helpful. It presents these sometimes overwhelming cases from the perspective of nervous novice clinicians, whose reactions and questions are very relatable. Their supervisors provide great insights to bring into your own practice. And the teaching points listed are a tremendous help to anyone about to begin work with trauma survivors.

From watching this video, you will:
  • Watch two case examples involving trauma and develop ideas to approach new clients when they share delicate material.
  • Gain a better understanding of transference and countertransference in trauma cases and learn how to handle these feelings with clients.
  • Learn ten key points to keep in mind when working with survivors of trauma.
Length of video: 00:57:42
English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD
Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-491-6
Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-491-8
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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

  • Watch two case examples involving trauma and develop ideas to approach new clients when they share delicate material.
  • Gain a better understanding of transference and countertransference in trauma cases and learn how to handle these feelings with clients.
  • Learn ten key points to keep in mind when working with survivors of trauma.