Course Syllabus



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Semester & Location:

Psychology 2022 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Human Development - Psychology 


One psychology course at university level.

Faculty Members:

Terry Saftis

Program Contact: 

Current Students: please contact your faculty using the canvas inbox function

Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays 13.15-14.35

Classroom: Fi44-Kosmo-405


Description of Course

We are all likely to experience a traumatic event at some point in our lives. Such experiences affect an individual’s biological, psychological and social functioning. This course will provide students with a theoretical base for understanding how life crises and critical incidents affect every day functioning. Both classical and contemporary theories, and research regarding assessment and treatment of trauma will be covered. Using case descriptions (e.g. Manchester Attacks), students are encouraged to analyze and apply crisis and trauma approaches from an international perspective 


Furthermore, Individual differences regarding traumatic events will be explored.  Students will be introduced to the core concepts of preventive interventions, crisis intervention, and management.  Individuals, groups and organizations will be considered. Cultural Implications will be addressed by exploring the European perspective. Finally, this course will address both natural events and contemporary issues leading to crisis and trauma (e.g., natural disasters and terrorism).


Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the different types of crisis and trauma.

  • Gain insight into the impact of crisis and trauma on the individual and society.

  • Know how to classify and assess different crisis reactions.
  • Understand how people and groups react to different kinds of crisis and why.

  • Familiarize with interventions that reduce the intensity of emotional, mental, physical and behavioral reactions to a crisis.

  • Understand prevention techniques to stop the development of chronic crisis reactions.

  • Be aware of how to support people to return to their level of functioning before the crisis.

  • Analyse how professionals and organizations can minimize and manage the consequences of severe psychological stress.

  • Integrate theory and research with assessment and treatment



Terry has a MSc. in Health Psychology (2000) and a BSc. (Hons) in Psychology (1997) both from City University UK/London. He also has a certificate in psychotherapy and counseling and is in the process of qualifying as a psychoanalyst from the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research. Terry has co-authored a number of journal articles on post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Before joining DIS Terry Saftis worked as the Clinical Director of Community Housing and Therapy, a leading UK charity running therapeutic community households for adults with mental health diagnoses. He has also managed two therapeutic community projects, one, being a project working with homeless veterans suffering from mental health difficulties and the other a project for individuals with a diagnosis of psychosis and personality disorder.  He has also worked as a psychologist in the Greek Army. With DIS since 2015.

Contact information for current students


Required Textbook (Available in DIS Library):

  • Van der Kolk, B.A., McFarlane, A.C.& Weisaeth, L. (Eds.).(2007). Traumatic Stress: The Effect_ of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society” New York: The Guilford Press.

Required Articles and Other Media on Canvas:

  • Adams, E. R., Bocarino, A. J., Figley, R. C., (2006) Compassion Fatigue and Psychological Distress Among Social Workers: A Validation Study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76 (1), 103-108.
  • J. & Sloan, D; ( 2012) The Oxford handbook of Traumatic stress. Oxford University Press. Pgs. 347-363
  • Bonanno, G.A. (2004). Loss, trauma, and human resilience: Have we underestimated the human capacity to thrive after extremely aversive events? American Psychologist, 59, 20-28.
  • Cohen, K & Collens, P., (2013) The impact of trauma work on trauma workers: A metasynthesis on vicarious trauma and vicarious posttraumatic growth. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 5(6), 570-580.
  • Dulmus, N Catherine., & Hilarski, C. (2003) When Stress Constitutes Trauma and Trauma Constitutes Crisis: The Stress-Trauma-Crisis. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 3:27–35.
  • Follette, V., & Ruzek, V. (2006): Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for trauma. New York: The Guilford Press, Chapter 5. Pgs. 96-116.
  • George S. Everley, Jr., & Jeffrey T. Mitchell. (2000) The debriefing "controversy" and crisis intervention: a review of lexical and substantial issues. International Journal of Mental Health, 2(4), 211-225.
  • Greenberg, N., 2015. Military and Disaster Psychiatry. In: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the Social Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol 15: 495-500.
  • Herman, J. L., (1992) Complex PTSD: A Syndrome in Survivors of prolonged and Repeated Trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 5, No. 3, pages 377-391.
  • Jeffrey H. Fox, et al. (2012) Original Research, The Effectiness of Psychological First Aid as a Disaster Intervention Tool: Research Analysis of Peer Reviewed Literature fro 1990-2010. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness., American Medical Association, 6 (3)., pgs 247 – 252.
  • Kenneth, E. Miller & Andrew Rasmussen (2009) War exposure, daily stressors, and mental health in conflict and post conflict settings: Bridging the divide between trauma focuses and psychosocial frameworks. International Journal of Social Science and Medicine, 70, pgs. 7-16.
  • MacManus, Deirdre, et al. (2015) "Aggressive and violent behavior among military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: prevalence and link with deployment and combat exposure." Epidemiologic reviews 37.1 196-212.
  • Mayou RA, Ehlers A, Hobbs M. (2000) Psychological debriefing for road traffic accident victims. Three­year follow­up of a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 176:589­593.
  • Mc Farlon, A, C., (2000). On the Social Denial of Trauma and the Problem of Knowing the Past. International Handbook of Human Response to Trauma (chapeter, 2). Plenum Publishers, 11-26.
  • Orden, V., A, et al. (2010) The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. Psychological Review, 17 (2), 575-600.
  • Report by Greenberg Research Inc. The People on War Report. Pgs. 1-37.
  • Resick, P. A. (2009). Stress and Trauma. Clinical Psychology, A Modular Course. Psychology Press. Chapter 1. P. 1-28.
  • Romme & Essher (2012) Psychosis as a Personal Crisis: An experienced-based approach. Routledge, London. Chapters 7,8,9, Pgs. 59-85
  • Schlenger, W.E., et al. (2002). Psychological reactions to terrorist attacks: findings from the national study of Americans reaction to September 2011. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 288 (5), pgs. 581-588.
  • Smith, J. A. (2012). The Stormy Search for Self in Early Adulthood: Developmental Crisis and the Dissolution of Dysfunctional Personae. The Humanistic Psychologist, 2012, 38:2. P. 120-145.
  • Victoroff, J. (2005) The Mind of the Terrorist A review and Critique of Psychological Approaches. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 49(1), 3-42.


Field Studies

Gadens Stemmer 

Gadens Stemmer A.M.B.A. is a registered socio-economic company, which offers city walks and lectures beyond the usual in Copenhagen, Vejle, Esbjerg and Faxe.

We offer paid and meaningful employment as a guide and lecturer, focusing on personal stories from a life as a socially disadvantaged and in the shadow of ordinary society. The Voices of the Street works for increased quality of life through the meeting between people, and to bring the individual guide closer to independence from public services.

We facilitate meetings between people to reduce prejudice and increase understanding across societal boundaries - we hope to strengthen the cohesiveness of society.

Street Voices A.M.B.A is a not-for-profit company. This means that everything, if any. profits are invested in the operation and development of the business or given for non-profit purposes.

The Hub - A safe house for sex workers 

Colbjørnsensgade 12, st. tv.

1652 København V/ Copenhagen

Malene Muusholm

We will be hearing about the work of Reden International that runs a safehouse and crisis center for sex workers in Copenhagen.  We will be hearing about how they respond to crises and how they work with the complicated histories of their clients. 



Guest Lecturers

Olga Ruciman

Olga is a psychologist/psychotherapist which specializes in the area of psychosis. She also deals with symptoms of psychosis herself and has had experiences in psychiatry settings.  She currently leads the hearing voices groups here in Denmark and is a leader in advocating for seeing psychosis beyond symptoms. 


Christina Bilstrup 

Christina Bilstrup, For many years, Christina has worked for the Danish Police and the Attorney General. In addition, she is associated with institutions for juvenile detainees, where she performs screening of the young people in terms of determining and evaluating their Cognitive Level and potential Psychiatric Disorders.


Expectations of the Students

Students are expected to be prepared for class and participate in class. This includes participation in all the planned activities and class/group discussions.

Each session will typically start with a 10-15 minutes presentation of the central topic based on the required reading for the day, and related to topics taught in earlier sessions. This will be followed by class discussion in small groups, and followed by yet another 10-15 minute presentation.  In the majority of lessons students will be asked to analyze case studies relating to the material presented on the day. 


Students will be evaluated throughout the term by completing various group and individual assignments.  All students will be assigned their groups in the beginning of the term and will be required to complete all coursework in order to receive a pass grade.  Students that are able to produce work beyond the obvious and predictable will be awarded full marks for their efforts.  Students are also expected to contribute to class discussions and show active participation throughout the term in order to receive full marks for the course. 





Participation & Engagement


Student Presentations on Research Article


 Student reflection paper on presentation


Clinical Case Analysis


Poster presentation (DIS Showcase event)


Participation: Class Attendance and Participation (15%):

Attendance in class is mandatory. Students are expected to participate in class, enter into dialogue with fellow students and instructors, and to take part in discussions and presentations.  As part of the participation grade, each student is expected to post a reflection on Canvas, regarding “what I learned today in class today that was interesting and why”. This includes comments on Canvas pertaining to the 2 field studies, and guest lectures


Student Presentations of Research Article (10%)

The presentation should include the following:

  • An introduction to the topic and why it is relevant.

  • The main themes of the paper

  • Clinical and practical implications

  • Future contextual considerations

Students should submit their chosen research article one week prior to the presentation.  The article that students will be presenting will be part of the required readings for the class.  All students will need to come with two questions/discussion points regarding the suggested reading that will be discussed in class.


Student reflection paper on individual presentation (10%)

Students are required to submit a 3-4-page reflection paper following their individual presentation in relation to the topic they have presented in class.  Students will be required to complete an APA-formatted literature review on the selected topic.  Students are expected to us at least 5 references, 3 of which should be empirical articles.  Students are expected to address the following questions:

  • What is the main topic and current theoretical perspectives

  • Which points of the paper do you agree or disagree with and why?

  • Alternative theoretical/clinical viewpoints in relation to the presentation

  • Controversies in current knowledge and current theoretical gaps

  • Future contextual considerations in relation to the topic presented


Clinical Case Analysis (30%)  

Students will be required to write a clinical case analysis of a particular client. More information will be provided on Canvas.


Research Paper (20%)

Each student will be asked to write a research paper (7 pages- excluding title and references pages) on one of the topics covered in class. The paper cannot overlap with the poster presentation. More information will follow in class and on Canvas.


Group Poster Presentation (DIS Showcase) (25%)

Students will be required to develop a psychology service for individuals/groups/communities confronted with crisis and trauma.  It will be required for students to choose a particularly high-risk group and develop a psychology service that will work comprehensively with the specific group they have identified.

Examples and grading rubric are provided under the link assignments. 


Disability and Resource Statement  

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Academic Support ( to coordinate this.  In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes.




You are expected to attend all classes, guest lectures, workshops and field studies. If you must miss a class for religious holidays, medical reasons, or other valid reasons, you must let us know as far in advance as possible of the absence and obtain information about the work you must do to keep up in class. If you miss a class for any other reason (sudden illness, family emergency, etc.), you should get in touch with us as soon as possible and arrange to make up the work missed.

It is crucial for your learning that you stay on task and hand in assignments on or before the due date. All work– including in-class projects – have to be completed in order to pass the class. Late papers or projects will be marked down with 1/3 of a grade for each day it is late.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism and Violating the Rules of an Assignment

DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and credit all work or thought taken from others.   Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of “F” and can result in dismissal. The students’ home universities will be notified. DIS reserves the right to request that written student assignments be turned in electronic form for submission to plagiarism detection software.  See the Academic Handbook for more information, or ask your instructor if you have questions.

Additional Areas

Policy on late papers – This should be at the discretion of the instructor, but it is useful to state this policy (e.g. ‘Late papers will not be accepted’, or ‘Late papers will be accepted, but your grade for the paper will be reduced by half a point for each day that it is late.’)

Use of laptops or phones in class – DIS recommends that you are clear about classroom etiquette and the expectations you have of students using laptops in class. The decision to allow laptop use in class at all is at the discretion of the instructor.

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due