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Critical Incident Counselling, Trauma and Suicide

This unit equips the student for a special type of community tragedy referred to as critical incident counselling by exploring the impact of trauma as well as understanding the phases of a disaster and the standards response used by emergency services. Particular attention is given to the spiritual impacts of crises and the assessment and management of thoughts of suicide.

Lecturer: Refer to Timetable
Offered: Refer to Timetable

Postgraduate: Level 9 elective

Discipline: DP Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies  

2 x units in Field D
or AIFC’s Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Integrated Psychotherapy (Spiritual).
Prohibited combination: Students cannot do this unit who have also completed IPSTRA806A Provide counselling support in response to trauma reactions and critical incidents as part of their Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Integrated psychotherapy (Spiritual)

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the symptoms and nature of complex trauma and critical incidents and explain the effects on the body, soul and spiritual dimensions of individuals and groups
  2. Articulate the stages of disaster response and evaluate implement intervention strategies for psychological and spiritual care during each stage
  3. Compare and contrast various types of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and articulate and implement a response plan in keeping with the Australian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS)
  4. Describe and evaluate spirituality and religious practices that can support healing and how they can cause further harm.
  5. Articulate and evaluate constructs related to effective ministry in situations of acute stress, crisis and trauma causing individual suffering from a Christian perspective.
  6. Undertake suicide risk assessment and management.*

* NOTE: This is a PACFA requirement


  1. Discussion forum topic 1,2,3,4: 4 x 500 words (4 x 10%)
  2. Personal reflection paper: 2000 words (30%)
  3. Critical Incident Case Study Paper: 2000 words (30%)

Select Bibliography:

*Recommended reading

Adsit, C. (2008) The Combat Trauma Healing Manual: Christ-centered Solutions for Combat Trauma, Newport News, VA Military Ministry Press

Briere, J.N., (2014) Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment (DSM-5 Update), Thousand Oaks, SAGE

Everly, G. S., Lating, J.M. (2013) A Clinical Guide to the Treatment of the Human Stress Response, New York, New York, Springer

Everly, G.S. & Mitchell, J.T. (2008) Integrative Crisis Intervention and Disaster Mental Health Innovations in Disaster & Trauma Psychology), Ellicott City, Chevron Publishing

* Floyd, S. (2008) Crisis Counseling: A Guide for Pastors and Professionals, Grand Rapids, Kregel

Hoff, L.A., Briwn, L & Hoff, M.R. (2009) People in Crisis: Clinical and Diversity Perspectives, New York, New York, Routledge

Robinson, S.G. (2007) Ministry in Disaster Settings: Lessons from the Edge, Northcote, Victoria, Uniting Church Press

* Wright, H. N. (2012) The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling – What to Do and Say When It Matters Most! Ventura, California, Regal Publishing