Challenges for students working in a shared traumatic reality

Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, Rachel Dekel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The authors analyse a training programme for social work students which aims to provide the participants with tools for intervention in stress situations and crises that they experience with their clients. The present study was conducted among twenty students, who worked with adolescents during the forced relocation from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005. Analysis of their reactions to this intervention revealed five main themes: the nature of the helping relationship; integrating theory and practice; functioning in a changing and unpredictable environment; working in a shared reality; and the interaction between political attitudes and professional work. In contrast to conventional social work training, the course allotted considerable time to promoting dialogue, support, mutual aid, and reflection. It also extended the students' intervention skills to the micro and macro levels of the helping professional relationship. Despite the limitations and costs of the course, the authors recommend further development of similar programmes, and continued evaluation of their effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-538
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Relocation
  • Shared reality
  • Stress
  • Training programme
  • Trauma


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