Trainings & Outreach

Trainings & Outreach

CST services were designed within an ecological framework, whereby we hope not only to provide services directly to survivors, but also to influence the environment in which torture survivors are trying to rebuild their lives. Often survivors may not seek out services through torture treatment centers and they may access physical, social and legal services before seeking psychological help.  It is important that these providers be aware of and sensitive to the challenges faced by survivors. By training other providers with whom the survivors come into contact with and by disseminating research information based on data collected from our clients, we aim to improve the access and quality of services available to torture survivors.

In addition to direct client services, CST staff conducts trainings for legal, medical and social service providers and provide psycho-education and outreach to organizations and community members.

If you are interested in having CST conduct a training, please contact us at (408) 975-2730.

CST’s Training Curriculum for Community Based Organizations


This training is developed by AACI’s Center for Survivors of Torture and is meant primarily for community based organizations who work with refugees. The aim of the training is to increase awareness about the existence of survivors of torture in our community, how to identify them, and work with them so that they can become healthy and successful members of our community.

Goals: Through training and education the Center for Survivors of Torture at AACI aims to spread awareness and identify the specialized needs and issues that survivors of torture face so that providers and professionals who work in local community, social, health, and legal settings are attuned to adequately identify, assess, refer and/or serve this population. Participants will increase their awareness about the special needs of this population, and become familiar with effective interventions unique to working with survivors of torture and apply them in their usual work.  The mental well being of helpers: self care and developing basic skills for managing stress and coping with the effects of secondary trauma is also discussed.

CST Training Curriculum for Health Professionals

This curriculum is concerned with the training of professional mental health workers (i.e. social workers, health workers and counselors) who work in a medical setting and may come in contact with people who have lived through war, the refugee process, and are possible survivors of torture. Social workers and health care professionals can provide a critical role in identifying torture survivors who need help, and can assist survivors expand and use social support systems, supportive services and referrals essential to their recovery.

Goals: To effectively educate social workers regarding the special needs of survivors of torture, and to become familiar with the physical and mental health effects of torture and severe trauma. In addition to enable social workers to intervene and effectively implement culturally competent strategies to facilitate increased stabilization so this population can be better cared for and receive the help they deserve.

CST’s Training Curriculum for Interpreters

This training is developed by AACI’s Center for Survivors of Torture and is meant primarily for interpreters and bilingual caseworkers who provide interpretation for refugees and survivors of torture. The aim of the training is to increase understanding about mental health interpreting in general and the role of interpreters in psychotherapy with traumatized refugees.

Goals: Interpreters play a key role in psychotherapy with refugees, ensuring that the client and therapist understand one another. The work of interpreting requires a diverse range of interpreting skills, as well as ethical and clinical knowledge. Through training and education, the Center for Survivors of Torture at AACI has designed a series of workshops to introduce interpreters who work with traumatized refugees to effectively provide interpretation in therapy sessions. The focus of the sessions includes becoming familiar with the roles that interpreters play in therapy, the nature of the therapeutic triad and the effects of interpreting on interpreters own well-being. An introduction to the theory and methods of psychotherapy with refugees as well as an overview of mental health problems common among refugees are highlighted.  Strategies for self care to minimize the effects of interpreting painful stories of loss and trauma are discussed.

CST Training Curriculum for Law Enforcement

This training is developed by AACI’s Center for Survivors of Torture and is meant primarily for law enforcement officers who work in the community and come in contact with survivors of torture. The aim of the training is to increase awareness about the existence of survivors of torture, and to create a bridge of understanding between law enforcement and families affected by torture.

Goals: Law enforcement officers will benefit from increased awareness regarding the specialized needs of survivors of torture and how to safely and effectively serve, assess, identify, and/or refer survivors of torture for appropriate services so that they can become healthy and successful members of our community. Interacting safely with this population is a huge concern for officers dealing with survivors who are hyper vigilant and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

CST Training Curriculum for Legal Professionals

Developing a well constructed forensic interview and subsequent testimony

  • What does a forensic evaluation entail?
  • Assessing the client’s credibility/ building trust – across cultures
  • Understanding cultural and linguistic factors in the interview process
  • Looking at process of young person’s transit to USA – smuggled, trafficked, etc.
  • Making the most of the forensic evaluation for the client’s case
  • How are forensic reports scrutinized by DHS, judges, etc.?
  • Supporting clients during the process.

CST Training Curriculum for Primary Care Physicians

This curriculum serves as an introduction to working with survivors of torture and is meant primarily for primary care physicians, and nurses who may come in contact with this population in a primary care setting. The aim of the training is to increase awareness about the existence of survivors of torture in our community, and to educate health care professionals about torture and its physical and psychological consequences as well as the essential role of medical treatment in healing from trauma. While detailed discussion of specific treatment modalities are beyond the scope of this workshop, we will attempt to introduce areas deserving exploration including assessment, education, cultural competence, and the use of medications.

Goals: Primary care physicians and nurses who participate in this workshop will be able to effectively identify and provide treatment in the primary care setting to survivors of torture and use their ongoing relationship to educate survivors about the effects of trauma whilst minimizing the stigma regarding necessary health and mental health treatment – so this population can be better served.

PowerPoint Presentations