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University of East London Validated course uel logo

 trauma informed  IATE-Logo  CCMH

Duration: 12 days over two terms (weekend days only)

When: 21st April 2018

“Understanding and adequately responding to what happens when people are exposed to overwhelming experiences is a basic requirement of a healthy society.” (Dr Pam Stavropoulos, Consultant in Clinical Research, ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse) May 2012



The aim of the course is to enable people working in education to be trained to respond effectively to the mental health needs of troubled children. It is widely recognised that many children who are traumatised or experience mental health problems are unable to learn. Their troubled behaviour may also become a barrier to learning for other pupils. Furthermore, major Public Health studies have shown that the majority of these children, if unhelped, will go on to suffer severe mental and physical ill-health and even early death. In fact, untreated adverse childhood experiences are a leading determinant of all the main physical, mental and social problems in our society today (Felitti and Anda 2014). That said, if schools become ‘trauma-informed’ suffering really can be preventable for our vulnerable children.


This course aims to train people working in schools to become effective Trauma Informed Practitioners who are able to:

Direct work with children

Understand the impact of trauma on a child’s body, mind, brain development, relationships, behaviour and ability to learn and so offer interventions accordingly

Relate effectively to vulnerable children and teenagers in the school setting in ways that alleviate their suffering, improve their well being, help them to feel empowered and support their learning

Provide children who’ve experienced trauma and/or mental health problems with vital brain science and psychological knowledge so they don’t feel ‘mad or bad‘ but understand what is happening in their brains and minds, why it’s happening, how relationships can heal, and in so doing offering hope for positive change

Engage vulnerable children in healing conversations about their painful life experiences and mental health issues.

Develop an in-depth empathic understanding of what it is like for a child to live with physical/emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, domestic violence, a parent with mental health problems/addiction, parental separation/divorce, loss of a parent or a family member in jail then find the words and prosody to voice that empathy appropriately.

Employ strategies for early intervention, recognise early indicators of mental health difficulties, know limits of competence and refer on to other agencies as appropriate.

Work with school staff

Enable staff to develop a clear understanding of the brain science and psychology of child trauma and child/teenager mental health problems and how these can impact on learning

Provide staff with strategies for effective trauma informed interventions with vulnerable children through relationship rather than medication.

Support staff to increase the ‘protective factors’ in the school environment which research shows prevent adverse childhood experiences from becoming mental and physical health problems now or in the future.

Educate staff to understand when challenging behaviour is likely to be trauma re-enactment and to respond accordingly

Educate staff about what vulnerable children need to be able thrive so they don’t suffer misdiagnosis, unempathic responses or re-traumatisation in the school environment

Improve the wellbeing of staff who work with vulnerable children, to prevent those staff members leaving the profession because of stress and/or feelings of inadequacy.

Inform staff about the research on ‘why empathy heals’ and how to make empathic responses in instead of questions (with no empathy), lectures or criticism.


The effects of trauma on children: brain, mind, body, behaviour and motivation to learn. 

The mental and physical health crisis in society resulting from untreated adverse childhood experiences (ACE study, Felitti and Anda 2014; Bellis et al 2015) and why schools should pick up the baton.

Trauma in relation to conduct disorders, learning difficulties, depression, anxiety, self-harm, attention deficits and other common child and adolescent mental health diagnoses.

School-based Practice: Enabling traumatised pupils to learn (practical skills). 

The art of therapeutic conversation, empathic listening and reflective dialogue with vulnerable children. 

The assessment of need in traumatised and troubled children in school settings

Helping children make the shift from expressing their trauma through challenging behaviour to thinking about their trauma in conversation with trusted adults. 

Thinking psychologically and modelling psychological thinking with children. 

Why so many traumatised children get expelled and alternatives to expulsion.

Avoiding the danger of secondary trauma: looking after our teachers. 

Whole school approach to trauma ‘informed’ and attachment ’iinfomed’ interventions. 

Child Protection Issues, ethics and the law, knowing when to refer on, and to whom.

Admissions Criteria

All candidates must have the following:

Some experience of working with or in schools in a professional capacity

Be able to demonstrate the following capacities and abilities:

Developed capacity for warmth, compassion and empathy

Self-awareness and the ability to be open and emotionally undefended

Emotional robustness

A good ability to play

A good level of contact with others

An accepting, compassionate, as opposed to judgmental, attitude towards others

The ability to stay stable under stress

A positive rather than frightened of inhibited relationship to use of art media and imaginative ways of exploring feelings

Personal Therapy 

Due to the course content, we highly recommend that students are in personal therapy for the duration of the course. In some cases, we would make this a condition of entry to ensure duty of care.

TRAINING STRUCTURE and different awards (all weekend days)

21st & 22nd April 2018
26th & 27th May 2018
23rd & 24th June 2018
21st & 22nd July 2018
13th & 14th October 2018
17th & 18th November 2018 (UEL Students Only)

Practitioner Award: 10 days  (Non-University route.) 

Practitioner Award: 12 days (University of East London award. Additional £350 University registration fee)  

How to apply for any of the Trauma and Mental Health Informed schools awards:

You will need to attend an interview day (Taster Day - See this website for details and dates)