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Trauma Pedagogy

Trauma-sensitive action in child and youth welfare and other fields of practice
Zwei Hände schreiben mit einem Stift auf Papier

Trauma pedagogy is based on the assumption that dysfunctional behaviour is biographically conditioned and therefore understandable. These are often reflected in current pedagogical situations and not infrequently evoke feelings of helplessness or defensiveness in professionals. This training teaches the attitude and professional competences required to accompany those affected in a helpful way and to act in a self-caring manner.


24/11/2023 – 09/11/2024
Free places
Certificate Course
University certificate

8 ECTS credits


Completed studies or vocational training, if possible several months of work experience and activity during the further training in a relevant field of action

Educational leave:

Recognised in Brandenburg and Berlin

  • Prof. Dr. Alexandra Schmidt-Wenzel

    More and more often, educational professionals are confronted with the demand to be a sensitive and predictable counterpart to traumatised children and adolescents, to be able to recognise their fears and needs and to react appropriately to the situation. Whoever succeeds in this in practice paves the way at best for new, confident experiences that can be set against those of violence and powerlessness.
    In our training on trauma pedagogy, we teach how the necessary knowledge concepts and competences can be successfully combined in practice without losing sight of one's own resources.

    Prof. Dr Alexandra Schmidt-Wenzel
    Scientific management
  • Symptoms are often an expression of unconscious conflicts. They can superficially determine what happens to a person, even though there are repressed, seemingly forgotten traumas underneath. To sense these, to recognise them, to pay attention to them, to be able to bear them, is part of the experience that is to be conveyed in the trauma further education degree programme.

    Bettina Copper
  • It is not uncommon for educational professionals and institutional frameworks to be overwhelmed by the unconscious relationship requests of traumatised children and adolescents, because the traumatic patterns of experience extend into the present through reenactment. Therefore, it is essential to reflect on the traumatically influenced relationship events and to understand the highly stressed children and adolescents in their subject logic. Such a trauma-sensitive relationship orientation, which is conveyed in further training, usually changes the attitude and actions of the professionals and contributes significantly to the relief of all involved.

    Birgit Bucher

At a glance


Upon obtaining the certificate, participants are able to use the inventory of trauma pedagogical diagnostics for an individual understanding of the case and to develop pedagogical framework concepts that meet the special needs of those affected.

Target groups

The in-service training is aimed at social workers, teachers, educators and other practitioners with relevant experience of working with highly stressed children, young people, their parents and carers, but also with adults.


In the first module we dedicate ourselves to a basic introduction to central concepts of psychotraumatology and trauma pedagogy. Participants learn about the history of the origins of the still rather young discipline of trauma pedagogy and receive an overview of the history of psychotraumatology, whose origins date back to the 19th century.
How does trauma develop? What happens in the body? What secondary symptoms can arise and how can I recognise and classify them? These questions as well as the importance of trauma-sensitive action in different fields of work will be the focus of our joint discussion. An overview of different trauma-therapeutic methods rounds off this first unit, the topics of which will be deepened in the following modules.

Attachment theory, which includes psychoanalytical aspects of early experiences and precarious life circumstances and focuses on transitional situations, is the focus of the first weekend. The question of what it means for children and young people to grow up in a traumatising environment will be explored. The focus will also be on resilience, which plays an essential role in protecting against psychological injuries. Finally, based on the theoretical understanding of psychoanalytical developmental psychology and transgenerational transmission of trauma, the possibility of corrective relational experiences will be discussed.

The second weekend shifts the focus to the professional handling of highly stressed people. What characterises a trauma-sensitive attitude and how do psychotherapy and pedagogy differ from each other? The development of a sensitive professional attitude is closely linked to the concepts of trauma pedagogy. These are the focus of the unit. In addition, diagnostic approaches such as scenic case understanding, resource-oriented anamnesis procedures and individual screening instruments are examined with regard to their usefulness for educational practice.

Professional action always takes place in the context of one's own biographical experiences and determines professional self-understanding as well as the shaping of relationships. Especially when professionals are confronted with behaviour that is causally related to psychological traumatisation, it can be helpful to make oneself an instrument of understanding within the framework of transference and countertransference, which requires good self-knowledge. In order to cope with this demanding task, a holding structural framework is also needed. This module is dedicated to the necessity, the procedure and the chances of self-reflexive individual and institutional practice.

The first weekend serves as an introduction to the topic, while the second weekend is used to deepen the topic and to look at one's own institution. The focus is on teamwork in the institution, which is shaped within the framework of the term "safe place". The question is explored as to what prerequisites an institution must have if it wants to work in a trauma-sensitive way and whether it is institutionally involved in the countertransference process.

Being able to act in a trauma-sensitive way as a professional requires taking into account important premises of self-care and mental hygiene. The importance and strategies of a self-caring everyday practice as well as measures to protect against secondary traumatisation are therefore a focus of the module.
In parallel, the different requirements and methods of stabilisation and psychoeducation for the addressees are in focus: How do I deal with self-injurious behaviour? How do I react to dissociative states, avoidance behaviour or flashbacks? What structural conditions are needed to be able to act professionally and what are the limits of trauma education?

This module discusses different professional fields that work with traumatised people. The focus is on inpatient child and youth care, voluntary work, work with refugees and counselling fields that deal with violent experiences. The experience of the participants plays a major role here, which will possibly broaden the view of other professional fields. In addition, the instrument of counselling as a resource in the network will be looked at, e.g. in the context of help for upbringing or the training of professionals.

In this module, the preceding contents and practical experiences are deepened in an evaluation of one's own work process in the form of group supervision. The aim of supervision is to promote role-specific, task-specific and personal self-reflection; it can support individual development and casework.

In the final colloquium, the participants present the practical cases they have worked on and sum up their newly acquired perspectives and competences.

Dates & Schedule

Seminar times
9:30 – 5:00

136 seminar hours + 8 hours supervision

 Course 2
Module 129 – 30/11/2024
Module 2.124 –25/01/2025
Module 2.228 – 01/03/2025
Module 3.111 – 12/04/2025
Module 3.223 – 24/05/2025
Module 413 – 14/06/2025
Module 519 – 20/09/2025
Module 606/11/2025
Module 707 – 08/11/2025

Registration & Information

ZEW – Further Education Unit

Room 1.10
Stephanie Teichler
Coordination ZEW & Project Recognition and Crediting