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Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency

Students pursuing the Master of Social Work, Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency (ITR) field of study take their own practicum courses. Practicum courses in the ITR field of study provide students with field education in direct and/or indirect social work practice in trauma-informed intervention, treatment, and service delivery, with a focus on the connection between personal, cultural, professional, and academic development. In their practicum, students discern individual resiliency through values, ceremonies, and teaching of their cultural heritage.

Through practicum experiences, students will be able to experience hands-on learning in one or more specific areas of trauma intervention and treatment: program development; individual, couples and family counseling; traditional teachings and ceremony; trauma-informed schools; political advocacy; and/or community intervention.

The development of social work competence is the primary objective of the MSW program at FIFSW. For more information about competencies and for general background information about practicum, please consult the MSW practicum manual.

  • Students entering the ITR program without a BSW degree must take the SWK 4516H course (MSW ITR Practicum) in Year 1. It involves 450 hours at the placement.
  • All students in the ITR field of study take SWK 4703Y (MSW ITR Practicum II), which is a 450-hour course taken across two semesters. Students can opt to enroll from September–April or January–August of their second year.
  • Students must attend practicum a minimum of 2 days/14 hours per week but can attend up to full-time. The weekly schedule is determined between the student and the field instructor and shared with the Practicum Office.

The ITR practicum emphasizes social work practice in a community and/or organizational setting where global indigenous and/or trauma-informed perspectives can be applied to direct or indirect practice. Students work with the ITR practicum coordinator to secure an approved practicum site and field instructor.

Potential activities for the practicum could include: community or program needs assessment; direct service delivery; collaboration in established knowledge-building activities; community outreach; community activism; original research and policy development; archiving; etc.

Trauma-informed practice

Trauma-informed services recognize that the core of any service is genuine, authentic, and compassionate relationships. Trauma-informed systems and organizations provide for everyone within that system or organization by having a basic understanding of the psychological, neurological, biological, social, and spiritual impact that trauma and violence can have on individuals seeking support.

At its core, the trauma-informed model replaces the labelling of clients or patients as being “sick,” “resistant,” or “uncooperative” with that of being affected by an “injury.” Viewing trauma as an injury shifts the conversation from asking “What is wrong with you?” to “What has happened to you?” (Klinic Community Health Centre (2013). Trauma-informed: The Trauma Toolkit, Second Edition).

Further Information