Supporting Survivors of Sexual Trauma
Taking Flight International

 Supporting Survivors of Sexual Trauma  Certification Course Overview 


Those who have experienced sexual violence suffer repercussions immediately and often long-term. These can include symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress including anxiety and panic attacks, flashbacks and dissociative responses, depression, nightmares, and other sleep disturbances, eating disorders, numbing of feelings, and an inability to have healthy and satisfying relationships, including intimate and sexually gratifying relationships.

While many who have experienced sexual violence believe they will experience these and other difficult symptoms for the remainder of their lives, it is important to recognize that healing of body, mind, emotion, and spirit is possible, and that healthy and satisfying relationships can be established and maintained.

The complicated grief and trauma resulting from sexual violence is covered in detail in this course, as are the counseling methods and skills required to support healing from this form of violence.

In this course, trauma-informed researched methods are paralleled with research supported alternate and complementary approaches used for personal healing and in professional setting with grieving and traumatized clients. These methods include energy-transfer-healing, therapeutic art, guided visualization, and nature work.

My personal and professional backgrounds have informed me that often the deepest pain of grief is experienced at a spiritual level. My experiences, and the reports from the hundreds of grieving clients I have worked with, indicate that once the spiritual wounds are healed, the mental, emotional, and physical effects of grief can be more rapidly, more effectively, and more easily, also healed. 

Within the context of this course, spirituality is described as a human being’s personal relationship to what is meaningful to him or her, and what gives direction and purpose to their life. The spiritual needs as identified by Carson and co-authors in Spiritual Dimensions of Nursing Practice are: the need for love, trust, hope, forgiveness, belonging, and meaning and purpose in life. According to these authors and other researchers, all people are considered to have a spiritual dimension regardless of if or how it is expressed or practiced. Spiritual distress is the suffering experienced when one or more of the spiritual needs are not met, as frequently happens during times of grief. 





1) The primary goal of the Supporting Survivors of Sexual Trauma Certification Course is that learners gain the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a more wholistic way with individuals who are traumatized because they have experienced sexual violence.

2) Basic to this training is the belief that a therapeutic helper can bring another only as far along the healing process as he or she has already come. Based on this awareness, the second goal of this course is the opportunity for personal growth and healing for each course participant.




During the teaching and learning experiences provided in this course you:

1) Gain advanced knowledge and relevant theory of the immediate and long-term effects of sexual trauma on the body, mind, emotion, and spirit.

2) Recognize the immediate and long-term grief reactions to sexual violence.

3) Examine the responses of the human brain and nervous system to trauma and post-traumatic stress and use strategies to heal these untoward responses.

4) Advance abilities to provide supportive counseling strategies.

5) Use alternative and complementary methods, including therapeutic art and guided visualization, nature, and energy work, to supplement healing.


Course Content





The Methods used in this course build upon theories and practices that flow from holism, art as therapy, meditation and mindfulness, and ancient healing methods. Human and universal energy field theory and practices are incorporated, as are the theories and practices of grief and trauma counseling, mental health nursing, sociology, Gestalt therapy, Jungian, developmental, spiritual, and counseling psychology.


Educational Process


During this interactive and experiential certification course, learners examine in holistic ways the implications of supporting others during trauma and complicated grief. They explore the stressors inherent to supporting and counseling during emotionally intense experiences, and practice self-care to empower the counselor, and to enhance the counseling experience.


Required Resources 

  1.  Simington, J. (2022). Supporting Survivors of Sexual Trauma Certification Course Handbook. Edmonton, AB. Taking Flight International Corporation.
  2.  Simington J. (2011). Reintegrating Parts of the Self (audio recording). Edmonton, AB. Taking Flight Books.

Time Frame 


Forty hours of education and skill attainment are required for certification. Education hours include time for completion of assigned reading and the final written take-home exam.