PROFSUPV 710 : Stress and Trauma in Health and Human Services

Education and Social Work

2023 Semester Two (1235) (30 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Explores the complex dimensions of stress and trauma encountered by health and human services workers. The historical, cultural and conceptual basis for an understanding of the impact of stress and trauma on both clients and workers is considered. Critically explores research-led strategies to address personal, professional and organisational responses to stressful environments.

Course Overview

The course is delivered on campus through 2x two day block teaching days and is open to students from a range of professions. The students will study the following topics:

Identify key contexts in which health and human services workers will encounter the impact of stress and trauma.
Develop a holistic understanding of  the impacts of human service work including indicators of stress, trauma and indirect trauma.
Identify contextual and organisational challenges for health and human services workers in response to stress and trauma.
Describe the role of professional supervision in attending to stress, trauma, and indirect trauma, and amplifying resilience.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Social Work

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate a holistic understanding of emotional labour, stress, trauma, indirect trauma, and resilience. (Capability 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2 and 6.1)
  2. Identify and describe key contexts in which health and human service workers will encounter stress, trauma, and indirect trauma. (Capability 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 5.2 and 6.1)
  3. Identify and analyse ways that professional supervision can support and counter emotional impacts of human service work that contribute to stress and trauma, and amplify resilience. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2 and 6.1)
  4. Critically examine contextual and organisational challenges for health and human services in response to stress and trauma. (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentation 30% Individual Coursework
Assignments 35% Individual Coursework
Assignments 35% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4

To pass this course students must submit both assignments and undertake the class presentation. Students must achieve 50% across the three assessments in order to pass the course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30 point course and students are expected to spend approximately 300 hours of study for the semester.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures and class time, leaving approximately 130 hours for independent study (reading and thinking about the content) and approximately 130 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities to complete components of the course.
The course will not include live online events including.
Attendance on campus is required.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Previous SET evaluation not available.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.