Empirically-Supported Treatments for Trauma – TRMA 840

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

Course Description

This course examines evidence-based (or empirically supported) treatments of trauma with sensitivity to client characteristics, cultural backgrounds, and preferences. Students will consider how science informs human services counseling practice for these clients with the goal of ethical, effective, and biblically grounded care.


TRMA 830


Evidence-based practice is increasingly mandated in the human services field. Accordingly, students must have a clear understanding of the current therapeutic approaches that are empirically supported to treat trauma-related conditions in adults, children, and adolescents.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe key principles involved in the empirically supported treatment models for trauma in adults (Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization for Reprocessing for adults, etc.).
  2. Compare and contrast Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, and EMDR (three empirically supported treatments of adult trauma).
  3. Integrate empirically supported treatments in the development of your own approach to treating adult trauma.
  4. Distinguish how client characteristics, cultural backgrounds, and client preferences lead to adjustments in the application of empirically supported treatments.
  5. Assimilate biblical worldview principles in the application of the empirically supported treatment models described in this course.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and all presentations and materials in Blackboard.

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 (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will be using all the technical means available to us to make this both a fun and academically thought-provoking experience. The goal of this course’s Discussion Board Forums is to engage in an enjoyable, meaningful conversation almost like in a classroom setting. Half of the students will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. The thread may be a 2–3-minute video, narrated PowerPoint, Videoscribe, or other related communication software product that the student likes and would be effective in conveying his/her ideas. It also may be a written post of at least 350 words. Either format must demonstrate course-related knowledge and application of course resources. In the discussion board in which the student is assigned a thread, he/shewill have a conversation with his/her peers who post on the thread by responding to their posts and answering any questions. For those only doing replies for a discussion board (no thread), the student will reply to at least 4 other classmates’ threads. These replies must be spread out over 3 days in order to get full credit. The replies may be in similar formats described for the thread (video, narrated PowerPoint, Videoscribe, etc.) or can be written replies of at least 100 words. The word count is not as important as the quality of the content to move the conversation forward in exploring the forum’s topic. See the Discussion Board Forum Instructions in the Assignment Instructions folder on Blackboard for further information. (MLO: B, C, D)

Reflection Journal

In Module/Weeks 2, 5, and 8, after the student reads his/her texts and reviews his/her online materials for all modules/weeks up to and including those modules/weeks, he/she will write a journal entry that contains the following: (a) A description of 3 key ideas he/she has gained from the module/weeks’ materials since his/her last Reflection Journal and why these ideas are important (3 paragraphs), and (b) What Christian worldview integration thoughts come to mind from this section of course material (1 paragraph). See the Reflection Journal Instructions in the Assignment Instructions folder on Blackboard for more information. (MLO: A, C, D, E)

Continuing Education Credits

Being able to list on a vita that a student has Continuing Education (CE) training in an empirically supported treatment is very useful for employment. The student will select a professional online or local training program on 1 of the approaches discussed in this course to obtain 6 credit hours of Continuing Education credit. Several online training options will be presented in the course that the student can choose from for the completion of this assignment. In the list provided on Blackboard, the student will see that some of the options will be free and others will require payment to complete the training. With instructor approval, the student may also do alternative professional training programs online or in his/her local area for this assignment. See the Continuing Education Credits Instructions in the Assignment Instructions folder on Blackboard for more information. (MLO: A, C, D)


For this assignment, there are 3 options. Choose 1 of the 3: (1) Integrated Trauma Treatment Presentation, (2) Case Presentation of an Application of an Empirically Supported Treatment, or (3) Role-Play Demonstration. If the student is a licensed mental health professional or works under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional, he/she has the opportunity to choose any of the options. If the student is not licensed as a mental health professional, he/she is limited to (1) and (3) as his/her potential projects.

(1) The Integrated Trauma Treatment Presentation involves the student putting together the empirical approaches from class with his/her current counseling theory to present his/her existing working model for treating clients with PTSD. The student must include Christian worldview aspects if these fit with his/her faith background. While the presentation may be done as a PowerPoint, Prezi, or other software, the student is encouraged to develop a narrated presentation using Microsoft Office Mix, narrated PowerPoint, YouTube video, Videoscribe, or other communication software.

(2) The Case Presentation of an Application of an Empirically Supported Treatment (EST) consists of an analysis of the student's therapeutic or ministerial work applying an empirically supported treatment to a client with PTSD. This may be a case from the student's past work or current work. A prerequisite for choosing this option for current work with a client is licensure or supervision by a licensed mental health professional, adequate training in the empirically supported approach, and the availability of consultation, if needed in its application. Choosing and sharing this option will help the class see what it looks like to apply ESTs in human services counseling work. The student must include Christian worldview integration information, if applicable. The case will be de-identified in accordance with current APA and ACA ethical guidelines on how to report a case study (use a pseudonym, alter age slightly, do not report precise city, etc.). While the presentation may be done as a PowerPoint, Prezi, or other software, the student is encouraged to develop a narrated presentation using Microsoft Office Mix, narrated PowerPoint, YouTube video, Videoscribe, or other communication software.

(3) Role-Play Demonstration involves the student demonstrating an application of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy with a student peer in a mock 30–45-minute session. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is not permitted as a role-play since specific certifications are needed for that treatment (unless the student already has these certifications). Here are some example role-plays the student can perform. The student might videotape an application of a specific module of CPT or PE. For example, the student might video the fifth module of CPT in working with a peer “client”. The student client applies a role-play situation that does not involve a real personal trauma, but is fictional. The student must briefly introduce the client’s history, how the modules have progressed in prior sessions, and then share the role-play of what the fifth module looked like in working together. Another role-play example is the following. The student might record a mock session doing prolonged exposure with a student peer on a fictitious trauma. The student must provide a brief introduction of the client’s history, and then do the demonstration. Several software programs would permit the student to record the role-play demonstration online with his/her peer. For example, Skype for Business permits students to record a session.

For 1, 2, or 3, the files will be too large for the student to post in the discussion board if narration is used, so the student will post the link in the discussion forum dedicated to any narrated presentations. The student will also review at least 2 presentations of his/her peers, and post comments related to their presentations. Finally, the student will respond to any questions classmates post regarding his/her own presentation. See the Presentation Instructions in the Assignment Instructions folder on Blackboard for more information. (MLO: A, B, C, D)