Post-Graduate Trauma Counseling Certificate

The Post-Graduate Certificate in Trauma Response Services program is offered by George Fox University's Trauma Response Institute (TRI) and is designed for:

  • Current graduate students in a mental health, education, ministerial or medical degree program
  • Post-graduates with a master's degree or above in mental health, education, ministry or medicine who desire to earn a specialized concentration in post-traumatic stress prevention and intervention services

The primary objectives of the certificate are to train professionals who will advance the field of traumatology, and promote the safe and effective care of individuals and communities prior, during, and after traumatic events.

This 12-hour specialty is comprised of didactic and experiential courses reflecting best practices in trauma response, PTSD prevention and intervention strategies. The curriculum allows participants to progress through the specialty in one year, if starting in summer, yet is flexible enough to complete in two or more years if desired. Course sequencing is also arranged to allow new registrants to begin taking specialty courses at any time during the academic year.

TRI also offers continuing education events for those not seeking a certification.

Training Tracks (Focus of Study)

Beginning in the 2020-21 academic year, the Post-Graduate Certificate in Trauma Response Services will be offered in two different tracks, offering flexibility in format and professional focus. Contact counseling admissions counselor Gabriela Elkins for specific track start dates. 

Track I - Mental Health Professional Focus; In-Person and Online

Track I courses are offered in a hybrid format, with each course including both online and on-campus class activities. The readings, class discussion and assignments primarily focus on application of course content pertinent to mental health professionals. Students must be able to attend class in person on the Portland Center campus as well as participate in online coursework. Courses are offered yearly or biannually, during the same semester each year.

Track II - School Professional Focus; Online Distance Only

Track II courses are offered completely online, suitable for distance learners. The readings, class discussion and assignments primarily focus on application of course content pertinent to K-12 education and higher education professionals. Courses are offered yearly or biannually, during the same semester each year.

Curriculum

Certificate curriculum is organized in three blocks:

Block A: Foundational Knowledge
Trauma-informed foundational knowledge, including nature of trauma, risk, resiliency and best-practice frameworks for immediate and long-term trauma response.

Block B: Best-Practice Strategies
When combined with Block A courses, practitioners build a strong perceptual and conceptual trauma-informed speciality

Block C: Trauma Research & Leadership
Practitioners demonstrate expertise through a trauma-informed research project, and a project-based leadership experience.

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Curriculum Plan

Complete the following:

This course provides an introduction to traumatology and trauma-informed care including the nature of traumatic events and the impact on biological, psychological, and social functioning. In addition, students will identify risk and resiliency factors associated with PTSD prevention and intervention services. The various roles of the responder according to the nature of the event, stage of recovery, and professional scope of practice will be identified. Instruction format includes a blended learning environment including both face-to-face and online class activities.
This course prepares the student for designing trauma-informed individual and group interventions in the aftermath of a critical incident in accordance with one’s scope of practice and competence. Students will apply universal and foundational traumatic stress assessment skills in discerning appropriate intervention methods based on level of need, context, and stage of recovery. Psychological first-aid processes will be mastered. Vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue as it applies to the trauma responder will also be explored. Instruction format includes a blended learning environment including both face-to-face and online class activities. Prerequisite: TRMA 500
This course examines the neurobiology of trauma and is intended to deepen the student’s knowledge base regarding the interplay between a traumatic experience, social interactions, and neurological functioning. The interpersonal neurobiology perspective allows the student to understand not only the immediate physiological impact of a traumatic incident, but the interconnectedness between our social, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being in the aftermath of chronic abuse and/or a sudden traumatic event. Students will demonstrate an interpersonal neurobiologically-informed assessment of human functioning and response, and an ability to communicate this information in psychoeducational arenas tailored for survivors of traumatic incidents. Instruction format includes a blended learning environment including both face-to-face and online class activities.
Of central concern to the trauma responder is helping individuals and communities recover from extreme loss. This course examines the nature of grief in the face of loss as experienced across the lifespan. Students will gain a deeper awareness of common grief reactions as well as short and long-term psychosocial challenges congruent with common recovery processes. Using theories examining individual and systemic resiliency, students will explore personal and contextual issues influencing an individual and community’s resiliency in the face of loss. And finally, students will learn how to discern grief processes beyond one’s scope of practice within the trauma response setting. Instruction format includes a blended learning environment including both face-to-face and online class activities.

Complete the following:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is recognized as a best practice strategy effective in mitigating the impact of traumatic stress in those struggling in the aftermath of a critical incident. In this course students will learn a series of CBT techniques useful in early and middle stage interventions with individuals and groups. Students will identify the difference between using these techniques in the context of immediate trauma response verses ongoing therapy. Competence in the techniques will be demonstrated through class role-plays. Instruction format includes a blended learning environment including both face-to-face and online class activities. Prerequisite: TRMA 500 or Professor Approval. Recommended: TRMA 501.

Choose three of the following:

Students must complete 3 additional TRMA semester credits from the following list.
This course is a deeper examination of the topic under review in the annual Trauma & Social Justice Conference. Held the second week of September, the conference is an annual event sponsored by the Trauma Response Institute. It is designed to promote and support the work of humanitarian aid, mental health, education, ministerial, health care, and social change professionals dedicated to naming and responding to socio-cultural factors that increase stress and trauma among marginalized & vulnerable populations. The course is taught in a blended format with 50% of class time including conference attendance, and the other half including online activities.
This course explores the multi-generational impact of racial and ethnic marginalization. The course will also explore the impact of social dynamics on our development across the lifespan. Students will be invited to see the role of privilege and marginalization in increasing vulnerable populations to additional stress and trauma.
Professional engagement and networking now occurs in online forums as often as it occurs in face-to-face environments. Students earning a specialty in trauma-informed service will likely network and share their expertise in various digital environments which require specific skills and dispositions. This course introduces professionals to the basics of building a professional online identity with an emphasis on the application of ethical principles informing safe and effective practice. This course is applicable to all graduate students exploring methods of building a practice and networking with other professionals. Instruction format includes a blended learning environment including both face-to-face and online class activities.
This course examines the theory and application of Emotionally Focused Therapy with couples from a trauma-informed perspective. The course will build on the empirically validated concepts of EFT, by applying its concepts, as well as those of attachment theory, specifically to trauma stemming from attachment injuries. These traumas can be precipitated by a variety of experiences including mental health issues or relational trauma such as miscarriage, military combat, or childhood sexual abuse. Through the use of EFT’s three stages and nine steps, couples reprocess emotional experiences and traumas within the context of finding a secure base and emotional comfort in one another. The course will specifically focus on working with couples from a trauma-informed perspective thereby addressing guilt and shame, and reducing fear and anxiety, through the use of these concepts.
This course introduces independent mental health practitioners to the fundamentals of treating adults sexually abused as children. Since many adults challenged with recovery from incidents of childhood sexual abuse also experienced additional layers of abuse, neglect, or mis-attunement throughout childhood, the focus of this course will examine treatment from a complex trauma recovery lens. The student will demonstrate competence in understanding how to structure therapy for the adult client through the application of course materials. Competence in understanding the psychological, interpersonal, and neurobiological components of abuse will be demonstrated through a collaborative group project. Instruction format includes a blended learning environment including both face-to-face and online class activities. Prerequisite: TRMA 500 or Professor Approval.
These courses focus on best-practice strategies related to trauma-informed care within specific settings and populations. Course offerings may only be offered once, or might be rotated on an every 2 to 3 year basis depending on interest. Prerequisite: On a per topic basis. Prerequisite: TRMA 500 Introduction to Traumatology. Prerequisite or Corequisite: TRMA 501 Basic Skills in Individual and Group Crisis Intervention.

Complete the following:

Note: Students who do not complete the trauma research project by taking TRMA 571, 572 and 573 will need to register for the continuation course TRMA 575 until the project is complete.

Students completing the Post-Graduate Certificate in Trauma Response Services begin the research component by enrolling in TRMA 571 in either the Fall or Spring term. The Trauma Research Project is a thesis that represents the culminating demonstration of the student's trauma-informed expertise. The student will engage in a 9 to 12 month project designed to advance service delivery and/or research related to improving trauma response services. Post-graduate certificate candidates may opt to partner with government or non-government organizations, including the Trauma Response Institute, engaged in research or service delivery projects in progress, or design their own project to be developed and implemented within a designated setting. Students may also opt to collaborate together in the completion of a project as long as each student has clearly identified responsibilities. Successful completion of the thesis requires completion of the project as detailed in the candidate’s trauma research proposal, including a written summary of the project suitable for publication. Students will participate in monthly research team work groups during the Fall and Spring academic terms as all projects will be completed under the supervision of the Trauma Response Institute director. Prerequisite: TRMA 500, TRMA 501. Corequisite: Additional Block A, B, and C courses required for certificate completion.
Students completing the Post-Graduate Certificate in Trauma Response Services continue progress on their research component by enrolling in TRMA 572 in either the Fall or Spring term following the successful completion of TRMA 571. The Trauma Research Project is a thesis that represents the culminating demonstration of the student's trauma-informed expertise. The student will engage in a 9 to 12 month project designed to advance service delivery and/or research related to improving trauma response services. Post-graduate certificate candidates may opt to partner with government or non-government organizations, including the Trauma Response Institute, engaged in research or service delivery projects in progress, or design their own project to be developed and implemented within a designated setting. Students may also opt to collaborate together in the completion of a project as long as each student has clearly identified responsibilities. Successful completion of the thesis requires completion of the project as detailed in the candidate’s trauma research proposal, including a written summary of the project suitable for publication. Students will participate in monthly research team work groups during the Fall and Spring academic terms as all projects will be completed under the supervision of the Trauma Response Institute director. Prerequisite: TRMA 500, TRMA 501. Corequisite: Additional Block A, B, and C courses required for certificate completion.
Students completing the Post-Graduate Certificate in Trauma Response Services work towards the completion of the research component by enrolling in TRMA 573 in either the Fall, Spring, or Summer term following the successful completion of TRMA 572. The Trauma Research Project is a thesis that represents the culminating demonstration of the student's trauma-informed expertise. The student will engage in a 9 to 12 month project designed to advance service delivery and/or research related to improving trauma response services. Post-graduate certificate candidates may opt to partner with government or non-government organizations, including the Trauma Response Institute, engaged in research or service delivery projects in progress, or design their own project to be developed and implemented within a designated setting. Students may also opt to collaborate together in the completion of a project as long as each student has clearly identified responsibilities. Successful completion of the thesis requires completion of the project as detailed in the candidate’s trauma research proposal, including a written summary of the project suitable for publication. Students will participate in monthly research team work groups during the Fall and Spring academic terms as all projects will be completed under the supervision of the Trauma Response Institute director. Prerequisite: TRMA 500, TRMA 501. Corequisite: Additional Block A, B, and C courses required for certificate completion.
Students will complete a series of United States Federal Emergency Management Agency web-based courses related to trauma-incident preparedness and response. Course content will then be applied in service to a local organization or business through a readiness-review or employee in-service training. Prerequisite: TRMA 500, TRMA 501
Trauma Research Milestone Completion
Verification of trauma research completion submitted to Registrar.

Note:

Specific learning outcomes for each course are congruent with national traumatology certification expectations. Course requirements primarily involve project-based learning assignments requiring the student to demonstrate mastery and application of course content. In addition, all Certificate in Trauma Response Services course outcomes reflect core competencies expected in accordance with CA-CREP and NCATE educational standards.