PTSD and Combat-Related Trauma – CRIS 304

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

An examination and analysis of the causes, symptoms and treatments of PTSD and Combat-related PTSD, taking into account the latest research in the field and examining the affective, behavioral, cognitive and spiritual challenges faced by survivors.


CRIS 302


More than half of all Americans experience traumatic stress and may develop Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In certain groups, (first responders, military, rape and violent crime victims, etc.) exposure and contraction rates are much higher. The Pentagon recently stated that at least 30% of returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from Combat-related PTSD. Professional counselors and pastors will face the challenge of counseling and assisting individuals and families affected by PTSD at an ever-increasing rate. Due to the nature of the disorder, specific knowledge is needed to assist clients and parishioners in this area.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the nature of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the effects on the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual dimension of the individual.
  2. Explain the nature of Combat-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and the effects on the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual dimension of the individual.
  3. Compare and contrast various types of treatment for PTSD/Combat-related PTSD.
  4. Examine, discuss, and integrate all issues, theories, assumptions, materials, etc., presented in the course in accord with current scholarly standards and practices.
  5. Examine, discuss, and integrate all issues, theories, assumptions, materials, etc., presented in the course through the lens of Scripture.
  6. Analyze and apply the components of comprehensive trauma assessment, considering the differential impact trauma has on individuals, families, groups, and communities.

Course Assignment

Textbook reading and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

Discussion boards are a collaborative learning experience. The Discussion Board is the online version of classroom discussion. Each Discussion Board has two parts. (1.) Each student will start a thread with an original post on the assigned topic of the week. Each student must use APA style citations from various sources (textbooks, articles, etc.) to validate their writing. (2.) Each student must post a reply to another student’s thread, using etiquette, as outlined in the syllabus. Posting in reply to a comment to your thread does not count as a reply. The initial thread is due on Friday and reply posts are due on Monday of the week in which the forum is assigned.

Case Study (1)

The student will review and summarize a case study to demonstrate his or her ability to identify symptoms of PTSD and to recommend empirically-based treatment. In addition, students will identify and describe three resources in his or her community or state that would be helpful to the person described in the case study. Submit your Case Study Paper by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 7. 

Research Paper Proposal

The student will choose from a list of research topics and submit a Research Paper Proposal of at least 250 words. The proposal will provide a brief summary of the topic chosen for the Research Paper. The Research Paper Proposal must include an APA-formatted title page

Annotated Bibliography

The student will submit an Annotated Bibliography in preparation for the Research Paper. Each annotation must provide a 2–3-sentence summary for each source in current APA format. The Annotated Bibliography must include at least 5 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. At least two of these should be from professional journals.

Research Paper

Utilizing information presented in your texts as well as theoretical and practical elements from academic and Christian sources, compile an original paper of from 6 to 8 pages of body text, in APA style, which summarizes your understanding of PTSD and spirituality in general, or PTSD and spirituality shown in relationship to some major aspect. Address factors necessary for successfully coping with the effects of PTSD, and spiritual and professional approaches to treatment. A minimum of 10 scholarly sources (books and journal articles) is required in addition to your textbooks (if you choose to cite these). Grades will be assigned based on quality of content, how well APA guidelines are adhered to, the richness of citations utilized, quality of expression, and biblical integration presented.

Quizzes (8)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material and some presentations (see course content for details) for the assigned module/week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 20 multiple-choice questions, T/F questions, and have a 1-hour time limit.