Postgraduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Care

At A Glance

1+ Years Program length
$802 Cost per semester credit hour

Semester Credit Hours

7 credits, including a one-credit capstone project


Courses accredited by CACREP when earned as part of a Graduate School of Counseling degree


100% online (digital synchronous), with select courses occasionally available in person at the Portland Center

Tuition cost for entire program


* All stated financial information is subject to change.

Meet the needs of people traveling through their hardest seasons of life with wisdom, steadiness, and care

Our Postgraduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Care is offered by George Fox University’s Trauma Response Institute (TRI) and is specifically designed with you in mind. Pursue this certificate if you are a:

trauma counseling session

Our primary objective at George Fox is 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. You have a goal and the passion, and we are committed to help. We believe in the mission to provide healing opportunities for all, and we suspect you do as well.

We believe in the impact you will make on many lives through learning best practices in trauma-informed care, PTSD prevention and intervention strategies. Consisting of both didactic and experiential courses, the certificate is designed for practitioners who seek to transform lives through trauma-informed practices.

The curriculum allows you to progress through the specialty in as little as one year, though students may choose to take their courses over a longer period of time. Course sequencing is also arranged to allow new registrants to begin taking specialty courses at any time during the academic year. You can complete the certificate completely online in a remote, synchronous format. When multiple sections of a course are offered in the same semester, an in-person option may become available.

Postgraduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Care Requirements

Complete the following:

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.
This course provides an introduction to theoretical constructs informing the speciality of traumatology and trauma-informed best practices in response. Students will identify risk and resiliency factors influencing prevention and intervention services that are embedded in the tri-phasic model of recovery. Emphasis is placed on examining the nature of unmitigated stress and/or trauma, and the role of epigenetic and social-cultural factors in mitigating or increasing vulnerability. Multimodal assessment and response strategies prepare the student for advanced traumatology courses examining various treatment issues in greater depth. Instruction format includes both digital synchronous (via Zoom) and digital asynchronous (via Canvas and/or Google applications) class activities.

● Students pursuing the Postgraduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Care will complete
3 trauma-informed electives.
● All Play Therapy certificate courses (other than GCEP 580) qualify as TRI certificate
● Additional GCEP electives may qualify as TRMA electives depending on course content.
● GCEP / TRMA 539 is a recommended prerequisite unless otherwise noted on the course

The following are a list of sample TRI electives. Most electives are rotated on an every-other year basis, and new TRI electives are regularly offered:
This course explores neurological and body-based advancements in trauma-informed care through direct application of experiential exercises designed to promote safety and stabilization, the foundational phase in the tri-phasic model of trauma response. The course will also apply polyvagel theory and techniques in support of practitioner self care in response to compassion fatigue and one’s vulnerability to vicarious trauma when first engaged in clinical training.
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.
Telehealth, as well as professional engagement and networking, now occur in online venues as often as it occurs in face-to-face environments. Students preparing for a mental health degree, and a trauma-informed specialty in particular, will likely provide counseling services, and network in various digital environments which require specific skills and dispositions. This course introduces professionals to the basics of online engagement that is all part of building a professional online identity (POI). Emphasis is placed 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 / or networking with other professionals. Instruction format includes both digital synchronous (via Zoom) and digital asynchronous (via Canvas and/or Google applications) class activities.
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.
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.
Responding to a critical incident (an intense traumatic event) whether affecting a small group of persons or entire communities as in a natural or human-caused disaster, requires a distinct set of trauma-informed skills. In this course students will learn how to increase resilience and maximize recovery via prevention, intervention, and postvention activities related to a critical incident. In addition to reviewing components of Psychological First Aid, students will also learn how large scale disaster response organizations structure services, including the use of Disaster Mental Health providers.

Complete the following:

A research- or clinically-based project congruent with the student’s career objectives. GCEP / TRMA 539 is a required prerequisite. TRMA 503 and one additional TRMA elective are recommended prerequisites. Students interested in earning the postgraduate certificate in trauma-informed care are encouraged to meet with the TRI director in their first term of studies to begin identifying capstone project interests.

Students earning the post-graduate certificate in trauma-informed care demonstrate their advanced traumatology knowledge through the capstone project. In consultation with the TRI director and early in their TRI certificate studies, students completing the certificate will identify a career objective or a topic of special interest as the focus of their project. This helps the student determine whether their interests are best served by designing a research project or conducting an in depth clinical overview related to a treatment issue. At the conclusion of their project, students will be invited to share their project’s results with peers (in a class or special event presentation) or in a community setting as it relates to the focus of the student’s project. Instruction format includes regular consultation with the TRI director, independent research, and a final presentation to peers or community members. Students are permitted to engage in group projects.
Trauma Research Milestone Completion
Verification of trauma research completion submitted to Registrar.


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 Postgradaute Certificate in Trauma-Informed Care course outcomes reflect core competencies expected in accordance with CA-CREP and NCATE educational standards.


Learn more about applying to the certificate program


Kelly Peterson

Kelly Peterson

Admissions Counselor, Graduate Counseling Programs

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