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University of Alaska Fairbanks

Embracing the Whole Person in Social Work

University of Alaska Fairbanks via edX


This course offers knowledge, skills, and support for health professionals to become more compassionate, mindful, healthy helpers. Social workers often work with clients that are in crisis or have experienced trauma or are experiencing trauma and stress in the present.

Social work is about the relationships we have with individuals, families and communities, it is about partnership and collaboration with clients and consumers in the helping process, it's also about building on the strengths and capacities of people and communities, and instilling hope that there can be better tomorrow.

To be effective in this work it’s necessary to understand what trauma is, know the effects of trauma, and what the social work profession and other professions are doing in the area of trauma informed care and to work successfully with diverse individuals, groups, families and communities that have experienced trauma.

Learners will be provided information and insight into the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES), which highlights the connection between how early life trauma can impact health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Social workers often come to the profession because of something traumatic they have experienced in their life which has led them to want to help other trauma survivors.

In this course learners will also explore the important concepts and experiences of well-being, strengths, resiliency, and post-traumatic growth. The material in this course may be emotional or overwhelming to read about or watch or talk about. It is important to cultivate wellness tools to be able to support ourselves through life’s challenges and combat burnout and compassion fatigue. This course is also likely to inspire you and uplift you as we learn about the strength and resilience of the human spirit.


  • Week 1: Ways of Knowing – Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care
  • Week 2: Being Mindful, Self-Aware, and Compassionate – Healthy Helpers
  • Week 3: ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) – History and Hope
  • Week 4: Relationship Between Biology and Environment Over Time
  • Week 5: Epigenetics and Social Work
  • Week 6: Strength, Resilience & Post-Traumatic Growth

Taught by

LaVerne Xilegg Demientieff


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