Trauma CounselingBack to Course Guide
This course presents an introduction to the practice of effective trauma-focused therapy. The course includes study of the nature of psychological trauma and its effects, the problems, symptoms, and disorders that can follow traumatic events and an overview of the primary trauma-focused assessment strategies and instruments used in the field currently. The course provides information on treating one-time adult trauma and treatment for individuals with more complex presentations, including treatment for the effects of childhood maltreatment from various scientific and humanistic domains.
Attention is given to the individual context of survivors: the adverse sociocultural factors, needs of diverse cultures and the substance abuse/addiction issues that affect trauma survivors. The course provides information on trauma-relevant, research-based treatment approaches, interventions and practices, trauma psychobiology, neuroscience & psychopharmacology, and best practices for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of trauma. The course also addresses ethics in trauma treatment, secondary trauma and promotion of positive counselor self-care.
UPON COMPLETION OF THE COURSE, THE STUDENT WILL BE COMPETENT IN:
- Knowledge of the historical context of trauma & core trauma concepts.
- Knowledge of the differences in various types of abuse and trauma, including physical, emotional & sexual abuse; domestic violence, experiences of war for combat veterans and survivors of war; natural disasters and community violence.
- Knowledge of symptoms & effects of trauma on children, adolescents & adults
- Knowledge of the varying effects that different types of trauma have on human development and the development of psychological and substance use issues.
- Knowledge of the nature and neurobiology of trauma & current neuroscience regarding how the brain processes traumatic experiences.
- Knowledge of the accepted methods of assessment for psychological trauma including diagnostic interviews and psychological tests to determine specific targets for treatment, & DSM-5 criteria.
- Knowledge of diagnostics involved in determination of other differential diagnoses related to traumatic experiences.
- Knowledge of how trauma affects diverse people throughout their lifespans, including with differing mental health problems, cognitive and physical disabilities, and substance use issues.
- Knowledge of the impact of trauma on diverse cultures with regard to the meaning various cultures attach to trauma and the attitudes they have towards behavioral health treatment.
- Knowledge of the Social-Ecological Model of Trauma & how it effects individuals.
- Understanding the effects of trauma on individual domains of functioning (cognitive, emotional, physical, spiritual, relational, and identity) and how they express stress reactions both behaviorally and psychologically.
- Knowledge & skills in screening and assessment of individuals’ trauma history including knowledge of and practice with specific screening tools, and ability to identify clients’ strengths, coping resources, and resilience.
- Knowledge of necessity to ensure physical and emotional safety of clients and to avoid confrontation of apparently unhealthy client behaviors that could trigger trauma symptoms or acute stress reactions.
- Knowledge of evidence-based treatment modalities, common factors, and emerging trends and training needed to deliver effective treatment for varying presentations of trauma.
- Knowledge of research, methodology, and goals of mindfulness-relevant trauma treatments & their use in reducing psychological symptoms of trauma survivors.
- Knowledge of ethics of trauma treatment & strategies to address secondary trauma and promote positive counselor self-care.
- Knowledge and skill in general trauma-informed counseling strategies, including grounding techniques that manage dissociative experiences, cognitive-behavioral tools that focus on anxiety reduction and distress tolerance, and stress management and relaxation tools that reduce hyperarousal.