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Trauma and Mental Health: Etiology, Prevention, Diagnostics and Treatment



Exposure to a potentially traumatic event, such as accidents, disasters, abuse or violence is quite common. It may have long-lasting and diverse effects on a person’s health and life.
In this course students learn about the psychological and neurobiological processes that are involved in mental health development after exposure to trauma. The effects of trauma will be studied in a wide array of psychopathology, including depression, eating disorders, psychosis, substance use, personality disorders, and suicidality. The impact of trauma will be reviewed over the course of life and on various life domains (i.e., identity development, emotion regulation, and cognitive and social functioning). This course will also cover factors related to resilience, as individual responses to trauma vary widely. Most people will not experience long-term mental health problems after exposure to trauma and some people even become more resilient. Finally, students will learn about the evidence-based guidelines for prevention, diagnostics and treatment of trauma-related psychological disorders.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students:

  • Can explain the psychosocial and neurobiological processes after traumatic exposure on how this relates to mental health development during the life course;

  • Can explain the potential role of trauma in various psychological disorders and the impact of trauma on various life domains;

  • Can summarize the evidence-based guidelines for prevention, diagnostics and treatment of trauma- and stressor-related psychological disorders;

  • Have gained detailed knowledge about current clinical research controversies in the domain of trauma.





Mode of instruction

This course consists of 4 blocks of 2 weeks:

  1. Definition and typology of trauma and history of the PTSD concept;
  2. Psychological and neurobiological consequences of traumatic events and chronic stress;
  3. Evidence based guidelines for prevention, diagnostics and treatment of trauma-related psychopathology;
  4. Innovations in prevention and treatment of trauma-related psychopathology

In every block, there will be a combination of live (web-)lectures, knowledge clips and videotutorials.

Assessment method

Fulfilment of the course objectives is based on assignments concerning critical review of scientific literature.

Reading list


Contact information

Dr. Joanne Mouthaan