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Trauma Psychology Psy : 428. Dr. Charles Benight Professor of Psychology Email: SELF-EVALUATIVE PROCESSESING: COPING SELF-EFFICACY. Humans utilize self-evaluation in order to adapt to environmental challenges.

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trauma psychology psy 428

Trauma PsychologyPsy: 428

Dr. Charles Benight

Professor of Psychology


self evaluative processesing coping self efficacy
  • Humans utilize self-evaluation in order to adapt to environmental challenges.
  • The primary predictive factor for self-evaluation is coping self-efficacy (CSE). CSE is defined as the perceived capability for dealing with post-trauma recovery demands.
social cognitive theory triadic reciprocal determinism
Social Cognitive Theory: Triadic Reciprocal Determinism


Coping Self-Efficacy

Mental &





Effective Restorative

Or Regressive Coping

Behavior: Psychological Outcomes

Collective Efficacy

Social Resource




Relationships and Depth of Learning

Charles C. Benight, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology



Roman Cieslak, Ph.D.

Morgan Clinton, B.A.

Sandra Taylor

Whitney Piro

it s simple
It’s Simple
  • SELF
  • SAFE
key components to motivational learning
Key Components to Motivational Learning:
  • Ford & Smith (2007): Motivation in education is related to:
    • Capability Beliefs (Self-Efficacy)
    • Context Beliefs (Social Support Environment; Other)
    • And Emotions (Safetyto Learn)
mezirow 1990 1991 moon 1999 richardson 2000
Mezirow 1990,1991, Moon, 1999, Richardson, 2000

Depth of Learning Through Meaningful Reflection

Deep Learning

Transformative Learning

Reflective Unstructured

Working with Meaning

Reflective Structured

Making Meaning


Making Sense


Note Taking


Surface Learning

role of reflection
Role of Reflection
  • Learning may be defined as ‘the process of making a new or revised interpretation of the meaning of an experience, which guides subsequent understanding, appreciation and action’.
ethic of caring and reflective learning
Ethic of Caring and Reflective Learning
  • NelNoddings emphasized the Ethic of Caring in learning. It is an ethical imperative to develop a caring faculty to student relationship (i.e., TRUST). It is also essential to reflective learning.
developmental caring
Developmental Caring….
  • This process is developmental as the learning relationship emerges over time.
  • Role of Empathy, Positive Regard, Genuineness, Congruence, Investment.
key determinants of depth of learning self other safe
Key Determinants of Depth of Learning: SELF, OTHER, SAFE
  • Three primary components:
    • Trusting student/teacher relationship (Noddings, 2003; Ethic of Caring) (SAFE OTHER)
    • Enhanced student self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997) (SELF)
    • Promotion of maximal student effort (Dweck, 2007) (MOTIVATIONAL INTERACTION)
factors related to depth of learning
Factors Related to Depth of Learning
  • Illeris (2009) contends that learning involves cognitive (knowledge and skills), emotional (feelings and motivation), and social (communication and cooperation) dimensions. Triadic reciprocal determinism
  • Four levels: cumulative, assimilative, transcendent, and transforming
maximizing transformative learning
Maximizing Transformative Learning
  • Learning is maximized through a trusting relationship where the student believes he/she has the competence to master the material (i.e., self-efficacy) and also believes that effort, rather than innate ability, is necessary for success (Bandura, 1997; Dewey, 1968; Dweck, 2007; Noddings, 2003).
the senior seminar in trauma experiment
The Senior Seminar in Trauma Experiment
  • Operationalization of key components.
    • Create opportunities for individual contact with students (office hours, before/after class, during breaks, and emails).
    • Utilize each and every contact as a vehicle to promote trust, efficacy, and effort.
    • Use classic counseling skills to establish trust and rapport.
    • Create “emotionally charged” classroom environment to enhance engagement/personal reflection.
the journal
The Journal

Journal Reflections. As part of the class I have found that students deepen their learning experience and their relationship with me as the professor if they journal during the day after each class period. This is NOT meant to be a lengthy time consuming exercise, but more a reflective one where you take a few moments to think about the class, what you learned, and how it has affected you. This gives me the opportunity to have a greater appreciation for you as a student and how the class is going for you. So I would like you to journal each week and send it to me via email to


I would also like you answer each of these questions at the end of every journal by writing down three numbers such as 5, 7, 9 or something like that.

How comfortable you are feeling in class scale of 1 to 10 (1 = Not at all Comfortable to 10 = Very Trusting and Comfortable).

Your perceptions of how capable you feel in mastering the material scale of 1 to 10 (1 = Not at all Capable to 10 = Extremely Capable).

And how motivated you are feeling 1 – 10 (1 = Not at all Motivated to 10 = Very Motivated).

the study
The Study
  • 6 students agreed to participate
  • Fall of 2011 IRB approval was obtained
  • First class syllabus introduced and study outlined by graduate student who had taken the course as an undergraduate.
  • I was not aware who agreed and who did not agree to participate until I submitted grades
  • Each journal was reviewed and scored by 2 research assistance on the depth of learning for that week. When discrepancies were identified they were discussed until an agreed score was obtained.
  • Overall depth of learning was summated for each participant as well as graphically reviewed across the semester for developmental process.
participant 1 morgan
Participant 1: Morgan
  • Morgan is a 21 year old woman who was graduating in December. Her plan was to go on to nursing school. Her first and third journals showed her trepidation related to the major writing assignment in the class.
morgan journal 1
Morgan Journal 1

This past week in class we learned a great deal about "trauma" and

what it means as well as how it effects the mind. It was quite

interesting to hear what happens to one's mind after a traumatic event

and to learn about the natural progression of intrusive thoughts. I

had always thought that it was best to just not think of such

traumatic events and they would just go away. After last class I

realized that not talking about experiences just makes things worse.

The trauma doesn't go away and instead is subconsciously integrated

into our lives. Bringing the trauma to the surface and dealing with it

is necessary to over come it and avoid the "black hole of trauma".

1. Comfort level: 8

2. Mastering material: 4. I'm a bit nervous about the paper we have to

write. I've never written a paper as lengthy and in depth before.

3. Motivation: 7

morgan journal 3
Morgan Journal 3

Today in class we talked a bit about the paper, which has me a little

concerned. I am slightly nervous about the length of my paragraphs; I

tend to have quite lengthy paragraphs. I'm going to really have to work

on that. Also I'm nervous about critically evaluating the articles for

our papers, what if I miss something or I'm not detailed enough? This

is going to be a difficult assignment for me. Also in class we talked

a lot about social-cognitive theory as well as self-efficacy. I'm

still confused about what exactly self-efficacy is. With the example

of Maddie throwing paper into the trashcan, is self-efficacy how well

she perceives she will do? She perceived her self-efficacy as a seven

and then received feedback from the class, which dropped her

self-efficacy to a six. So is self-efficacy highly influenced by

social aspects? My interpretation of self-efficacy in relation to a

trauma victim is their ability to cope with the trauma or their

perceived ability to cope with trauma. Am I on the right track?

Comfort: 7

Mastering Materials: 6

Motivation: 6

my response
My Response

Hi Morgan. First off, we need to get your confidence and motivation up higher! I want to help you. As far as self efficacy is concerned you are definitely on the right track. We will talk more about it. Don't worry so much about the paper, let's work on that together.

Dr B

the in class intervention confrontation
The In-Class Intervention/Confrontation
  • Morgan began to show up late for class and miss class. She looked more disconnected and distressed. She turned in an assignment late.
  • I asked her after class to talk to me for a short bit and confronted her on these behaviors. She cried and said she was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do about the paper. I offered to help her with it, but she needed to do a rough draft for me to respond review.
morgan journal 6 crisis
Morgan Journal 6: Crisis

Today in class we learned about Social Support Deterioration

Deterrence Model. I found the correlation between received and

preceived support very interesting. I would not have suspected the

perceived support to be such a big factor in psychological outcome but

it does make sense that one would have greater self-efficacy if they

felt they had a lot of support. It's also hard when your usual support

system is also impacted by the disaster trauma because now the people

who usually supported you are now also in need of support. I also

wondered if the perceived support would decrease with a second

disaster. For instance, with the Haymen fires the people effected by

the fire may have had a high perceived support system, but after the

recession of the social mobilization and seeing the effects of the

rule of relative advantage, how high would they perceive their support

system when the floods came through? I would suspect they would have a

much lower perception of support for the second trauma.


Comfort: 5

Motivation: 7

Self-efficacy: 1

my response1
My Response

Hi Morgan,  I think we should meet up to figure out how to get you back on

track.  Are you open to that?  Are you planning on coming to either of the

extra sessions?  I like what you said in this journal.  Your point about

the one-two punch for the fire and flood is a very interesting one.  I

wish I had gotten up there before the flood so I would have had those

data.  Hang in there with this class.   You can do it!  When we meet I

would like to set out a plan for you that will help you to get things

focused and you can succeed.  You game?  Take care.

DR. B.

the intervention
The Intervention
  • We met at office hours and discussed the paper and how I wanted her to be a leader in the class.
morgan journal 7
Morgan Journal 7

Today in class we talked about Resilience. I'm still having a hard

time differentiating between Coping Self-Efficacy and Resilience. Is

Resiliency just the group of people who experience a traumatic event

but do not experience any psychopathology? Is that to say they do not

experience the stress of the event and intrusive thoughts or they just

do not experience the lingering effects of trauma? Would this group be

considered having normal responses perpetuated by the majority of the

population and other responses would be the abnormal way of dealing

with traumatic events? With the example of Joe in "Touching the Void",

his determination to live seems to be an extraordinary case of

resiliency far from the resilience of the majority of the population.

I do not think this individual should be classified in the same group

as resilient "normal" individuals; his experience is far from normal.

Resiliency, to my understanding, is the lack of psychopathology, not

the drive and motivation to keep going.

Comfort: 9

Self-Efficacy: 7

Motivation: 8

morgan becomes leader
Morgan Becomes Leader
  • In the weeks that followed, Morgan met with me several times to work on her paper, she organized a study group using google docs to prepare for the final, and was never late to class again.
  • She gave me an invitation to her graduation and a thank you card after the semester was over.
an example of a transformative learning experience
An Example of a Transformative Learning Experience

Our last and final journal.

This class has changed my life. Over the last few months I have had to come to terms with events and family situtations that in the past might have overwhelmed me completely. I have been able to set boundaries and create a more positive living conditions. I have been able to see short-term goals be achieved in my own life.

I have learned that setting boundaries are not just for keeping the bad stuff out, but for protecting the good on the inside. I have learned that I have the strength and compassion to work with others.


I have found that the connection of the academic and scholarly to the human condition be the most meaningful. We are cognitive beings and it is important to remember that we are only limited by ourselves. We can do anything if we put our mind to it. It isn't just a turn-of-phrase.

My life has already been affected by the knowledge i have gained. Like i said above i have been able to get out from under the abuse i suffered throughout my childhood. I have finally had the strength to take my abusers to court and get justice for myself. I have been able to face my abusers and stop lying to myself. I took the blind fold off my life and was able to see that their our people who can love me and not hurt me.


I want to thank you again for being kind to me. I don't know how to show the gratitude i feel for the insight, encouragement and kinds words who have offered me.

I hope to see you in my graduate school studies, even though i am not that interested in research.

See you next week.

  • Self, Other, Safe…
    • Key determinants include self-efficacy, trust, motivation.
    • Students must personally reflect on material to make it relevant and memorable.
  • Faculty and Student MUST both invest into the relationship.
  • Caring is central.
  • Goodbyes are difficult….