Cultural Factors in the Treatment of Trauma

Nicci Spinazzola, Ed.S., LMFT, LPC, ACS

Course Description:
Traumatic life events can be simple or complex in nature and result in simple or complex forms of post- traumatic adaptation. Similarly, cultures can be simple or complex in nature with different roles, social structures, authority systems, and mechanisms for dealing with individual and collective forms of trauma. The relationship between trauma and culture is an important one. Traumatic experiences are part of the life cycle, universal in manifestation and occurrence, and typically demand a response from culture in terms of healing, treatment, interventions, counseling, and medical care. In order to understand the relationship between trauma and culture, clinicians must have an understanding of both concepts.  This training will give participants a “big picture” overview of trauma and culture and they ways in which they influence a consumer’s experience, address the ways in which pre-existing and co-occurring conditions such as mental illness and substance use can affect outcomes, and present strategies and interventions for working effectively with culturally diverse clients with a history of trauma.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how cultural issues influence the experience, effects, and treatment of trauma
  2. Recognize culturally specific needs and interventions for trauma survivors
  3. Identify the clinician’s personal belief system and how it plays out in interventions
  4. Identify at least 5 distinct elements of healing subcultures
  5. Demonstrate understanding of the needs of particular special populations, specifically children and the elderly

Presenter Bio:
Nicci Spinazzola is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, NJ Disaster Response Crisis Counselor and Approved Clinical Supervisor. She is currently the Executive Director at the Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center of Somerset County responsible for the direction, development, and creation of programs, planning, and contracting.

Nicci has more than 35 years of experience working across the developmental spectrum in crisis intervention, recovery from trauma and complex grief following an unexpected loss,   and maintains a small a private practice in Morristown, NJ. She provides consultation and training for local universities, school systems, social service and public safety agencies and supervision to clinicians seeking licensure or consultation.

Location: Raritan Valley Communty College, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, NJ
Date:   October 25, 2016        Time: 9:00am-3:30pm
Registration and coffee/tea will take place between 9:00-9:30a.m. Please allow ample time The workshop will begin promptly at 9:30a.m. 
For detail directions and parking information please click here.


9:30-10:30am              Welcome and introductions
Trauma Overview, Physiology, Responses
10:30-11:00am            Culture and Trauma, Formula of Perspective, Compassion and Understanding
11:00-11:10am            Morning Break
11:10-12:00pm           Historical Trauma
Process of Grief
12:00-1:00pm                         Lunch Break
1:00-2:00pm               Trauma Narrative, Resilience
2:00-3:00pm               Healing Narrative, Rituals, Developing Support Systems
3:00-3:30pm               Intervention Guidelines
Wrap-up and Evaluations

Target Audience:  Social Workers, Counselors, and other mental health professionals.

This course is appropriate for beginner and intermediate level participants.

Continuing Education Credits: FAMILYConnections, Provider #1252, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. FAMILYConnections maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB ACE Approval Period: 01/10/2014 – 01/10/2017. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2.0 clinical and 3.0 social and cultural competency continuing education clock hours.

This course is approved by the Association of Social Work Boards – ASWB NJ CE Course Approval Program Provider #34 Course #1053. Social workers will receive the following credit: 2.0 hour(s) Clinical Social Work Practice and 3.0 hour(s) Social and Cultural Competency for the approval period starting 10/XX/2016 and ending 10/XX/2018. Final NJ approval pending.

FAMILYConnections, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6604. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Counselors will receive 5.0 CE hours.  FAMILYConnections is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

In accordance with ASWB guidelines, all participants must sign in and sign out and complete a course evaluation in order to receive CEUs. Partial credit will not be given to those arriving late or leaving early. Certificates will be awarded to participants after they have signed out at the completion of the course.

Facilities: If you need accommodations for a disability, please contact Niki DeVonish, Coordinator, at 973-323-3454 or by email at

Free registration will be open to staff of DMHAS-contracted mental health agencies and self-help centers until October 14, 2016. Cancellations must be made by October 21, 2016.

To register, please click here

Grievances: Please contact Niki DeVonish, Coordinator, at 973-323-3454 with any grievances.

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