Advanced Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist

Course Description

Continuing Education Hours: 19

This course offers reliable, science based strategies to effectively confront the complexity of PTSD and equips learners with an in-depth understanding on tackling its various challenging symptoms such as intense abreactions/flashbacks, severe depression-like shutdowns and avoidance behavior, dissociation issues, relational challenges etc. It also delves into established research findings along with clinically proven approaches that can be used for treating cases of complex trauma and the cumulative harm effects of toxic stress environments.

Learning Objectives

1. Articulate the differences between simple and complex trauma and identify the distinct challenges for diagnosis, treatment planning, stabilization and treatment of COMPLEX TRAUMA.

2. Understand the neurobiology of COMPLEX TRAUMA and how chronic exposure to threatening environments can produce the spectrum of symptoms of COMPLEX TRAUMA.

3. Appreciate the role that attachment trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) play in risk for and creation of COMPLEX TRAUMA; and how successfully addressing attachment issues can accelerate treatment for COMPLEX TRAUMA.

4. Articulate the causes of attachment trauma (e.g., relational threat/anxious attachment; avoidant attachment; disorganized attachment) and how these adaptations are easily misunderstood as personality disorders.

5. Articulate the importance of neuroplasticity/pruning and understanding neuronal sequencing (i.e., “neural networks”) in treating COMPLEX TRAUMA and all post traumatic conditions.

6. Understand the important role that conditioned threat response and subsequent ANS dysregulation play in generating and sustaining the symptoms of all post traumatic conditions including COMPLEX TRAUMA.

7. Articulate and explain how dissociation symptoms (e.g., numbing; derealization; depersonalization; hearing “voices”; fractured multiple ego-states; dissociative identity) are adaptations to recurring (usually developmental) trauma.

8. Understand symptoms of COMPLEX TRAUMA as adaptations to ongoing developmental trauma that can include extreme symptoms including self-injury; suicide; dissociation; numbing; addiction (process and substance); eating disordered behavior; chronic & intractable depression; hyper/hypo sexuality; and rage.

9. Articulate the role of crucial non-specific factors of positive expectancy and therapeutic relationship using Feedback Informed Therapy (FIT) as central focus of treatment with COMPLEX TRAUMA.

10. Learn and appreciate the pivotal role of psychoeducation in treating COMPLEX TRAUMA to help survivors to begin to honor their survival, ameliorate shame and move towards self-compassion.

11. Learn and implement the four “common factors/active ingredients” shared by all effective trauma therapies for clients with COMPLEX TRAUMA.

12. Appreciate the ubiquitous role of reciprocal inhibition embedded in all evidence-based trauma therapies.



Preparation/Assessment/Treatment Planning/Relationship-Building

1. Master self-regulation of ANS dysregulation (i.e., anxiety) for clinician resilience and optimization of treatment delivery.

2. Become intentional with maximizing positive expectancy as crucial early treatment intervention for engagement and ongoing intervention to enhance outcomes.

3. First-session Interventions to enhance safety, stabilization, positive expectancy and therapeutic relationship.

4. Skilled implementation of Feedback Informed Therapy using Miller’s Session Rating Scale.

Robert Rhoton, Psy.D., LPC, F.A.A.E.T.S.

Dr. Robert Rhoton, CEO of Arizona Trauma Institute and President at the Trauma Institute International possesses a rich history of experience in the mental health field. Dr. Rhoton has supervised multiple outpatient clinics, juvenile justice programs, and intensive outpatient substance abuse programs for adolescents, day treatment programs for youth and children, adult offender programs and child and family therapeutic services. Dr. Rhoton served as president of the Arizona Trauma Therapy Network from 2010 through 2012. Dr. Rhoton was a Professor at Ottawa University in the Behavioral Sciences and Counseling Department whose primary interests were training counselors to work with traumagenic family dynamics, child and family trauma, and non-egoic models of treatment. Dr. Rhoton is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and collaborates and consults with numerous Arizona agencies fine tuning their understanding of trauma and the impact of developmental trauma on the individual and family. Dr. Rhoton works internationally with organizations to improve the delivery of trauma treatment services.

J. Eric Gentry, Ph.D., LMHC, D.A.A.E.T.S.

J. Eric Gentry, Ph.D., LMHC, D.A.A.E.T.S. is a board-certified and internationally recognized leader in the study and treatment of traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. His doctorate is from Florida State University where he studied with Professor Charles Figley—a pioneer of these two fields. In 1997, he co-developed the Accelerated Recovery Program (ARP) for Compassion Fatigue—the world’s only evidence-based treatment protocol for compassion fatigue. Dr. Gentry was original faculty, curriculum designer and Associate Director of the Traumatology Institute at Florida State University. In 2001, he became the co-director and moved this institute to the University of South Florida where it became the International Traumatology Institute. In 2010, he began the International Association of Trauma Professionals. He has trained tens of thousands of professionals to more effectively treat traumatic stress. In 2005, Hogrefe and Huber published Trauma Practice: Tools for Stabilization and Recovery—a critically acclaimed text on the treatment of traumatic stress for which Dr. Gentry is a co-author. The third edition of this text was released in 2015. In 2016 He released his revolutionary Forward-Facing Trauma Therapy book. He is the author of numerous chapters, papers, and peer-reviewed journal articles in the areas of traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. Dr. Gentry is a licensed psychotherapist with over 33 years of clinical practice. He is the CEO and owner of Compassion Unlimited– a private psychotherapy, training, and consulting practice.

Leah Miller, MC

Leah Miller is a skilled, multi-disciplinary therapist with a devotion to helping clients exceed their goals and thrive. Her approach draws on her extensive experience and training, and a true dedication to helping people transform. She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Phoenix Seminary located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Leah also holds a health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has trained with Dr. Leslie Korn, PhD in Nutritional and Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Practitioners. Leah is currently enrolled in a yearlong advanced training in Mental Health Nutrition. Leah is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is also in her intermediate year of Somatic Experiencing Practitioners training, a three-year certification in somatic work—a body-oriented approach to healing trauma and other stress disorders.

Leah’s work is underwritten by her holistic approach to meeting vital mental health and wellness objectives. She utilizes her dynamic background to help clients approach their goals through a mind-body-spirit paradigm, allowing them to transcend past limitations and create a foundation for lasting wellness. Leah weaves her knowledge of psychology, health, nutrition, and lifestyle choices with trauma resolution modalities such as somatic experiencing and EMDR to help people re-connect with their best selves and flourish.


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