Trauma Focused Care for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma - 4-Hr. CE Training
Trauma Focused Care for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma - 4-Hr. CE Training

Trauma Focused Care for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma - 4-Hr. CE Trai...

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Jewish Social Service Agency

Ina Kay Building

200 Wood Hill Road

Rockville, 20850

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The JSSA (Jewish Social Service Agency) Training Institute presents:

Trauma Focused Care for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma

(4 continuing education credits)


James L. Griffith, M.D.

January 10, 8:45 AM-1:00 PM

Trauma-focused psychotherapy promotes recovery from traumatic events as they can occur during any stage of the life cycle, exposing a person to terror, horror, helplessness, or humiliation too intensely and for too long. Afterwards the traumatized person’s nervous system cannot vacate its state of alarm, and posttraumatic symptoms persist, including nightmares, intrusive memories, emotional numbness, avoidant behaviors, and sudden urges to attack or flee. When trauma is deliberately inflicted, as with torture, sexual assaults, or domestic violence, a victim’s sense of personhood can be damaged, leading to confused identity, difficulties with intimate relationships, and loss of faith that goodness can exist in the world. Posttraumatic stress symptoms that emerge, or re-emerge, late in life are a growing concern for our nation’s aging populations. Role changes and losses in function can make coping with traumatic memories newly difficult for individuals who have borne them silently for decades. Brain injuries from strokes or dementias can impair neural mechanisms that previously kept fear responses in check.

Trauma-focused psychotherapy seeks reductions in severity of symptoms by embedding evidence-based interventions within routine provision of mental health services. It also promotes recovery by activating naturally occurring pathways of resilience. While over 70% of individuals 65 years or older have experienced at least one potentially traumatizing event, long lifetimes of lived experiences also provide rich resources for resilience-building treatment strategies.

This workshop will focus upon skills needed for assessment, formulation, and intervention in trauma-informed care that is attuned to a person’s stage of life and relational world. It implements resilience-building strategies that identify a person’s signature strengths for coping with a traumatic past, including transformation of traumatic experiences into posttraumatic growth as a person.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will learn to:

1) Discuss psychological, social, and neurological factors that can contribute to emergence of chronic posttraumatic symptoms.

2) Discuss how posttraumatic symptoms differ, and trauma-informed care must be modified, when traumatic experiences have included:

a. Traumatic grief from losses

b. Displacement and migration stresses

c. Torture

d. Stigma, discrimination, exploitation, or violence due to ethnic, national, religious, or other identity

e. Current unsafe living conditions or ongoing risks of victimization.

3) Describe how to conduct a interview about traumatic experiences that avoids risks of re-traumatization by monitoring the person’s zone of tolerance for emotional arousal

4) Describe elements of a treatment relationship that facilitate effective coping with a traumatic past

5) Demonstrate how hope-building interventions can be derived from a patient’s past coping responses to traumatic events

Biographical Sketch:

James L. Griffith, M.D. is Leon M. Yochelson Professor and Chairman in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. As a psychiatric educator, Dr. Griffith developed a psychiatry residency program at George Washington University that has been distinguished for its curriculum in cross-cultural psychiatry, global mental health, mental health policy, and psychosocial care for medically-ill patients. In his clinical research, Dr. Griffith has published extensively on family-centered treatment of psychosomatic disorders and chronic medical illnesses, including a book, The Body Speaks: Therapeutic Dialogues for Mind-Body Problems. A second book, Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy, articulated methods for engaging the spiritual and religious resources that people bring to clinical settings. His most recent book, Religion that Heals, Religion that Harms, addressed destructive uses of religion and ideology in clinical settings and received the 2011 Creative Scholarship Award from the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture. Currently, Dr. Griffith provides psychiatric treatment for immigrants, refugees, and survivors of political torture at Northern Virginia Family Services in Falls Church, VA. He has received the Human Rights Community Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and the Margaret B. and Cyril A. Schulman Distinguished Service Award from the George Washington University Medical Center, both for the training of mental health professionals and development of mental health services for survivors of political torture in the Washington metropolitan area. As an educator, he has received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He has been selected by the Washington Psychiatric Society as its 2003 Psychiatrist of the Year and for its 2014 Distinguished Service Award. Most recently, he was selected by Washingtonian Magazine as a 2014 “Top Doctor in Washington.”

This is a training for mental health professionals, and other health professionals.

CE Credits: Eligible for 4 CE credits

The Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) is authorized by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners to sponsor Category 1 continuing education programs. The D.C. and Virginia Boards of Social Work usually recognize the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners’ approval. Please contact your state board for verification. JSSA maintains responsibility for this program.

JSSA is an approved sponsor of CE credits for psychologists in Maryland under the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. JSSA maintains responsibility for this program.

JSSA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6457. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. JSSA is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


In order to receive a certificate, registrants must attend the entire session.

Cancellation Policy for CE Training Programs

Please note: refunds for JSSA’s CE training programs are provided 5 days prior to the training date. After that time, a credit can be issued if JSSA receives a registrant’s cancellation up to two business days prior to the training date. This credit can be applied towards a future CE training, symposium or post-graduate course up to one year from the issue date.

Please visit for complete information about JSSA Training Institute policies.

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Jewish Social Service Agency

Ina Kay Building

200 Wood Hill Road

Rockville, 20850

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