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Trauma Studies Concentration FAQs

Q. Can you tell me more about the Trauma Studies Concentration?

The Trauma Studies curriculum is designed to provide foundational knowledge of the impact of traumatic stress on human functioning as well as an overview of evidence-based strategies for preventing and treating traumatic stress reactions.  Students then apply this knowledge base in practicing trauma-informed counseling skills with case material, in peer role plays, and finally with actual clients who have trauma histories. 

Q. How many courses do I need to take in the Trauma Studies Concentration?
The concentration is comprised of three required courses and two relevant elective courses.  The three required courses are:

  • CNSL 531 Trauma Across the Lifespan
  • CNSL 541 Crisis Intervention and Trauma Treatment Methods 
  • CNSL 551 Grief and Loss Counseling Theory & Practice

View the Course Catalog for Course Descriptions.
Students may choose the two electives according to their areas of desired clinical application.  The Counseling Psychology Department offers a number of electives for clinical work with specific populations (e.g., children/adolescents, families, clients with particular mental health problems) or utilizing specific intervention methods (e.g., psychopharmacology, relaxation methods). (List of department electives).  Thus students in the Trauma Studies Concentration can choose electives according to their areas of desired clinical focus, applying their trauma knowledge base to those populations /methods.  (This is consistent with the emerging paradigm of “trauma informed” mental health practice). The student is then responsible to document the relevance of the elective courses chosen as well as how he/she worked with the instructor to tailor the coursework toward Trauma Studies learning goals. The designation “Trauma Studies Concentration” will appear on the graduate’s transcript along with the master’s degree.

Q. How long does it take to complete the MA in Counseling degree with Trauma Studies Concentration?
Students can complete the degree in the same time frame as the general MA in (Clinical) Counseling program: three years (full-time) or four years (part-time).

Q: May I take Trauma Studies courses as a post-master’s student?
Students who hold a master's degree in counseling or counseling-related field may take Trauma Studies courses toward professional credentials.  Those seeking less than 12 credits, see this page.  Those seeking 12 credits or more, see this page.

Q. What advantages do I have when I complete the Trauma Studies Concentration?
Expertise in Trauma Studies can enhance your professional development and enable you to compete with others in the field of clinical practice. In the field of mental health treatment, it is now recognized that for those seeking services, trauma history is more the rule than the exception.  SAMSHA (the federal government’s national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) concludes:  “Although exact prevalence estimates vary, there is a consensus in the field that most consumers of mental health services are trauma survivors and that their trauma experiences help shape their responses to outreach and services.”  Accordingly, SAMSHA has established NCTIC, the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, “a technical assistance center dedicated to building awareness of trauma-informed care and promoting the implementation of trauma-informed practices in programs and services.” http://www.samhsa.gov/nctic/

Thus, students wishing to become professional counselors will be well prepared for clinical practice if their training includes knowledge, skills, and experience in mental health traumatology.

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