Despite the prevalence of sexual assault in Israeli society, strikingly there is a considerable dearth of knowledge regarding the treatment of sexual trauma among those professionals who are highly likely to encounter it in the course of their professional careers. Most Israeli academic institutions do not ensure that their students receive training regarding this issue or only briefly touch on the subject in a non-comprehensive manner. The Center therefore offers a vast array of trainings for a wide variety of professionals in order to ensure that they are equipped to help the survivors.
Training Today’s Professionals:
We reach out to doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologist and therapeutic counselors. We facilitated workshops, lectures and continuing education courses. The Center also provides regular trainings at the Ministry of Welfare’s School Continuing Education for Social Workers. These training impact social workers from a wide array of public and private organizations throughout Israel.
In order to further supplement these trainings, the Center facilitates professional day-long seminars throughout the year on a variety of topics dealing with issues of sexual assault. These professional enrichment trainings serve as the foundation for the Center’s position as a well-regarded expert in the nationwide discussion on sexual assault. Through them the Center demonstrates that our 37 years of professional knowledge and experience can significantly assist the broad range of audience members who attend.
Advanced Continuing Education Courses:
In our quest to ensure that mental health and medical professionals have the tools to help survivors in an in-depth manner, the Center also offers a two-year course on the subject of sexual trauma in conjunction with Bar Ilan University School of Social Work Division of Continuing Education. The training program is designed for mental health professionals who wish to expand their knowledge and treatment in the field of sexual trauma. The course is staffed by the leading professionals in the field of trauma treatment. This academic level course helps participants acquire the theoretical knowledge as well as the therapeutic tools necessary to meet the treatment needs of sexual assault survivors. The program also includes practicum work which provides program participants with a field placement while providing free treatment for survivors at The Lotem Center, The Tamar Center in Jerusalem, The ELI Center for Child Protection, Saleet: Support and Treatment for Women Leaving the Cycle of Prostitution, Mercaz Inbal-The Yachdav Association’s Treatment Center for Child and Teenage Survivors of Sexual Abuse and various mental health clinics across the country. This course is the first of its kind in Israel.
The Center also offers continuing education courses for mental health professionals including psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists at clinics throughout the country. The course instructors are leading professionals in the field of sexual trauma treatment.
Training Tomorrow’s Professionals
The Center has made significant headway within Israeli academia. As of 2013, Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Work has offered its third year students a groundbreaking, semester-long course on sexual violence in Israeli society. This was the first time ever that a course of this nature had been offered as part of the academic studies at an Israeli university. In the past, social work students experienced little exposure to this subject within their academic training. Due to the unestablished nature of the program, the University was initially unable to fund the initiative and the Center fully financed, staffed and managed this crucial pilot course. However, in light of the program’s success the course has been fully integrated into Tel Aviv’s regular curriculum. We have also expanded the program this year with a new pilot course for students, at Bar Ilan University’s School of Social Work, which was fully funded and facilitated by the Center.
In another cooperative initiative with Tel Aviv University, Center staff was invited to help co-develop the curriculum for a new semester-long academic course on sexual violence and harassment for the Department of Sociology. In thanks for our contribution, the University agreed to allow the Center’s education department coordinators to attend the course, which was offered for the first time this year, for professional development purposes.
This year we also facilitated a workshop for 90 first-year students at Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Work on the subject of sexual trauma that was fully funded and staffed by the Center. The students were so motivated by the seminar that they initiated a project to raise awareness about sexual assault on campus that included advancing this issue amongst the “Osim Shinui-The National Organization for Social Work Students”.
Additionally, the Center holds a training for students from Tel Aviv University’s International Institute. These graduate level students from all over the world who have come to study at the University’s M.A. in Crisis and Trauma Studies Program receive an intensive workshop in English focused on interventions and treatment of sexual trauma. This full-day training included both academic and practical information on everything from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst survivors to associated social trends.