This section brings together free in-depth Continuing Education resources for the Professional community concerned with trauma.
Courses all participants will be able to fully comprehend. Content includes concepts that are considered basic skills/knowledge for those in the field.
Courses participants may more fully comprehend if they have at least some work experience in the topic.
Courses include concepts requiring a high-level of previous educational background or work experience in the topic.
PTSD 101 courses are one-hour presentations by a faculty of recognized experts in the field of traumatic stress. Content is appropriate for both seasoned PTSD professionals and those new to PTSD treatment or care for military personnel.
The Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) Series provides expert training based on the latest revisions to the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD.
Clinical Skills Training courses are multi-hour presentations aimed at teaching specific clinical techniques for treating patients with PTSD.
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One of the most common complaints among those with PTSD is sleep disturbance. Sleep problems may lead to exacerbation of PTSD and other comorbid symptoms. This course provides information on PTSD and sleep problems, the advantages and disadvantages of pharmacological and cognitive behavioral interventions, and different ways these interventions can be implemented.
This course includes videos that demonstrate assessment of sleep-related problems and the tools included in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.View Course Details »
Guilt is common following trauma and is sometimes challenging to treat. This course explains the relationship between trauma and guilt and reviews how to assess traumatic guilt. The authors describe treatment considerations for guilt in prolonged exposure (PE) therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
Video clips of patients and family members describing their experiences with PTSD are included. Viewers are assumed to have familiarity with PE and CPT.View Course Details »
Older adults with PTSD face unique challenges in regard to comorbid problems, polypharmacy, and cognitive decline. This course provides general information about PTSD and best psychopharmacology treatment practices in this group.
This course reviews prevalence and incidence of PTSD in older adults and describes the role of aging and cognitive impairment in PTSD. Based upon data primarily from Veteran samples, recommendations and cautions for psychopharmacology in older adults with PTSD are presented.View Course Details »
PTSD is distinguished from other psychiatric disorders in that there is a known etiological component: an event that involves life threat, serious injury, or death. This course provides a detailed description of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, risk factors, and evidence-based treatments for PTSD.
The course includes videos of Veterans with PTSD describing their symptoms and clinicans explaining Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).View Course Details »
This is the third series in the collaboration between the Home Base Program and the National Center for PTSD. The 2014 program includes nine hour-long lectures, three of which are clinical case presentations. Each week a nationally recognized expert addresses a topic relevant to caring for Veterans and their families of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Topics include: mental health mobile apps and online tools, student Veterans' health, co-occurring TBI or substance abuse, complementary and alternative treatments for PTSD, female Veterans, and family care. Each lecture can be viewed independently.View Course Details »
From the War Zone to the Home Front Series II (now found together with all sessions from 2012-14) includes a comprehensive look at Veteran suicide, diagnosing and treating co-occurring conditions with PTSD (e.g., traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder), the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD, and other challenges facing returning Veterans and their families.
The 2013 series includes 9 hour-long lectures that are intended for health professionals, social workers, clergy, and other first responders. Each lecture can be viewed independently. This is the second educational series in the collaboration between the Home Base Program* and the National Center for PTSD.View Course Details »
Learn how to help Veterans and their intimate partners at risk for domestic violence by recognizing risk factors, including PTSD. This Psychlopedia activity from The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reviews ways to assess for, prevent, and address intimate partner violence in Veterans and their families.
The Strength at Home program for military families struggling with post-deployment conflict, anger, and readjustment issues is described.View Course Details »
Learn how to provide STAIR to your patients. STAIR is an evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for individuals with PTSD, including chronic and complicated forms as well as for those with PTSD and co-occurring disorders. STAIR includes skill building in emotion management and interpersonal functioning.
This online STAIR training consists of 8 modules covering several core treatment components. STAIR can be provided as a standalone therapy or as a complement to trauma-focused therapies.View Course Details »
Psychological assessment involves collecting data from different sources that must be evaluated and integrated. This course provides a practical guide for assessing PTSD. The purpose and importance of screening for PTSD and monitoring symptom change and treatment outcomes are addressed.
The best tools and methods for these purposes, as well as for diagnosing PTSD, are reviewed in regard to sensitivity and specificity.View Course Details »
Learn about the mental health needs of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and their families in this COMMENTARY from The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
A panel of experts discusses the challenges for receiving treatment for mental health conditions, including PTSD. Ways that employers and community members can assist are also discussed. The article highlights the importance of information sharing between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD).View Course Details »
This inaugural 2012 series (now found together with all sessions through 2014) includes 14 hour-long lectures that are intended for health professionals, social workers, clergy, and other first responders. Each lecture can be viewed independently.
Nationally recognized faculty with expertise in diagnosing and treating PTSD and TBI address the needs of military families and review how to recognize and treat the emotional stress of spouses, parents, and children of Veterans with PTSD and/or TBI. The Home Base Program* in collaboration with the National Center for PTSD, provides this educational series to assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and related issues in returning combat Veterans and their families.View Course Details »
The extent to which one's PTSD is related to functional impairment has direct implications for both assessment and treatment decisions. This course helps providers understand how PTSD impacts quality of life and examines measures that assess psychosocial functioning among those with PTSD.
The 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline recommendations for assessing PTSD-related functional impairment are also included. This course includes a case example to illustrate types of functional impairment and the importance of functioning.View Course Details »
Providing group therapy for PTSD has practical and therapeutic advantages, but also potential disadvantages. This course provides a synthesis of research support for group therapy, including a review of important methodological factors to consider when evaluating clinical trial research on group treatment for PTSD.
A review of the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD recommendations for the clinical application of group therapy for PTSD is included, and different formats (e.g., size, focus, goals) for group therapy are discussed.View Course Details »
The co-occurrence of PTSD and substance use disorders (SUD) is well-documented. This course reviews the evidence of co-occurring PTSD and SUD and identifies key recommendations for integrated psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy treatment of SUD and PTSD from the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline.
Measures and methods for treatment monitoring related to PTSD and SUD are discussed. The course includes a discussion of the potential barrier of substance use within PTSD treatment, illustrating methods for addressing this situation.View Course Details »
Sleep problems are very common with PTSD. This course describes co-occurring conditions and primary sleep disorders that affect sleep in Veterans with PTSD.
After reviewing the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline recommendations for medical management of insomnia with PTSD, the evidence base for three pharmacotherapies and three psychotherapies to manage sleep problems related to PTSD are described. A general approach for evaluating causes of insomnia with PTSD is presented, outlining relevant treatment recommendations within the assessment process.View Course Details »
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a trauma-focused psychotherapy, and Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) are among the psychotherapies receiving the highest level of recommendation in the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD.
This course summarizes the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for both therapies, reviews the treatment strategies, and describes the research evidence supporting use for PTSD.View Course Details »
As military medicine advances, more soldiers are surviving major combat injuries. This course discusses the complex interaction and symptom overlap of chronic pain and PTSD, with a special focus on Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.
A review of the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline recommendations for treatment of pain in Veterans with PTSD is included. After describing the risks and benefits of opioid pain management, the course identifies effective psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment approaches to enhance the recovery of Veterans who have both chronic pain and PTSD.View Course Details »
Considerable research has been conducted on the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions for PTSD. This course provides a review of how the human stress system is affected by PTSD, indicating the usefulness of certain medications to address neurobiological alterations in PTSD.
A review of controlled medication trials for PTSD is included. The relative evidence for psychotherapy versus pharmacological interventions is addressed, including current practices for combining treatments and for managing co-occurring conditions.View Course Details »
Although there is much interest in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for PTSD, there is not yet an evidence base to support ACT as a first line treatment. This course provides a thorough review of the state of the evidence about use of ACT for PTSD, addressing the need for further studies. An overview of the theoretical underpinnings and clinical application of ACT as applied to PTSD is included.
This course includes video clips to demonstrate core principles included in ACT for PTSD.View Course Details »
The VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline is intended to improve patient outcomes, providing clear and comprehensive evidence-based information and practices.
This course provides an overview of the most recent 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline recommendations for PTSD, including a review of changes from the previous 2004 version. A review of evidence behind psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy practices is included. Recommendations for treating complex co-occurring conditions and symptoms are also addressed.View Course Details »
Several interventions for PTSD are supported as first line treatment, including Prolonged Exposure (PE). This course summarizes the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD related to Prolonged Exposure, including a review of empirical evidence supporting this psychotherapy.
Treatment structure and overview for PE is explained and types of exposure are reviewed in detail. This course includes video clips to illustrate different stages of PE treatment.View Course Details »
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use is increasing among the US population, including Veterans. After defining CAM, this course reviews the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD recommendations for the use of CAM for PTSD.
A discussion of CAM services offered by VA is included. An evaluation of the research evidence behind CAM use for PTSD differentiates between most studied CAM modalities and summarizes usage and special consideration recommendations.View Course Details »
The 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD offers recommendations for treating anger and aggression with PTSD. This course reviews the literature describing the association between anger and aggression with PTSD, outlining additional risk factors (e.g., co-occurring conditions).
After providing assessment tips for addressing problems with anger and aggression, the course presents the clinical recommendations for anger management. A summary of Anger, Aggression, and PTSD: Strength at Home, an anger management intervention for those who have recently engaged in partner violence, is included.View Course Details »
First line treatment interventions for PTSD are identified based on strong evidence. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is one of the trauma-focused therapies recommended. This course summarizes the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD related to CPT, including a review of empirical evidence supporting CPT.
This course includes video clips to illustrate the therapeutic stages and related worksheets for CPT. A case presentation including outcome data is included.View Course Details »
Recognition of the importance of conducting research with women Veterans has increased as the number of women accessing VA health care has increased.
This course addresses the opportunities and challenges associated with conducting research specific to this subpopulation of Veterans. It provides concrete suggestions for study recruitment, research design, analysis, and reporting results with women Veterans. Resources for both VA and Non-VA researchers are offered.View Course Details »
Resilience is a complex construct that is both multidimensional and dynamic. After defining resilience and discussing measurement of the construct, this course reviews the scientific literature related to mediators and moderators of trauma and resilience.
The focus is on both neurobiological and psychosocial factors. Clinical applications of resilience and posttraumatic growth are described, including a discussion of interventions for pre- and post-trauma.View Course Details »
Aging Veterans comprise a large part of patient care in the VA. This course reviews literature explaining the prevalence and longitudinal course of PTSD in older adults and describes the potential impact of aging on PTSD. Information about best practices for assessment and treatment of PTSD in older adults in included.
This course presents video clips of older Veterans describing their experiences to illustrate the importance of aging processes in PTSD.View Course Details »
Interventions immediately following trauma provide protection, safety, comfort and basic needs, including Psychological First Aid. This course summarizes the recommendations for acute stress management and prevention of PTSD in the 2010 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD.
Evidence-informed principles underlying the intervention strategies of Psychological First Aid and Stress First Aid are reviewed, as well as the basic objectives and intervention strategies for each.View Course Details »
Epidemiological research has established an association between PTSD and intimate relationship problems. After reviewing the evidence establishing this relationship, this course explains the rationale and methods for including partners in the assessment of PTSD and relationship functioning. Different methods of incorporating significant others in PTSD treatment are also reviewed.
This course includes video clips to exemplify skills and strategies included in used in cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy (CBCT) for PTSD.View Course Details »
Understanding the prevalence of PTSD has changed how DoD and VA allocate resources and offer services to Veterans. After explaining key epidemiologic concepts (e.g., sample and population, incidence and prevalence), this course describes factors that influence prevalence estimates in a given sample.
An example walkthrough is included to illustrate key concepts. Key studies are used to evaluate prevalence estimates for PTSD in civilian and Veteran populations.View Course Details »
Tobacco dependence disorder remains a public health problem and a disproportionally high prevalence of smoking exists among people with mental health problems, including PTSD. This course provides a rationale for tobacco cessation as a health care priority for Veterans with PTSD.
A review of the rationale and evidence for integrating smoking cessation interventions into PTSD treatments is included to frame a discussion of the psychological and pharmacological interventions used to best target smoking cessation.View Course Details »
Learn how to provide Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) to your patients. This training has a particular focus on treatment of military and combat-related PTSD, although the principles and methods work with any type of trauma resulting in PTSD.
The site includes step-by-step instructions for each component of CPT, printable scripts for introducing concepts and techniques to clients, and video demonstrations of therapy procedures conducted by expert clinicians.View Course Details »
Learn how to assist people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism. This course is for individuals new to disaster response who want to learn the core goals of Psychological First Aid (PFA), as well as for experienced practitioners who want a review.
This is a 6-hour interactive course developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and the National Center for PTSD. The user takes the role of a provider in a post-disaster scene and features include activities, video demonstrations, and mentor tips.View Course Details »
Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) have consistently been proven as effective treatments for PTSD. This course addresses how to increase the effectiveness of evidence-based treatments for PTSD, particularly in difficult cases and situations. The importance of assessment to enhance therapy, potential treatment-interfering behaviors, and strategies for managing complex cases are included.
This is an interactive course with case examples to help further understanding of best practices for increasing effectiveness of PTSD treatments.View Course Details »
Understanding the context of military culture is important when treating Veterans. This course presents important information regarding military demographics, branches, rank, status, and specific stressors in the military.
Two Department of Defense programs to help service members prevent and manage combat and operational stress are described, framing assessment and treatment implications for clinicians within the VA.
This course offers useful terminology, interactive exercises and graphics to help explain military culture.View Course Details »
Military sexual trauma (MST) is a growing area of research and clinical importance. This course defines terms used to describe sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military and reports estimates of the frequencies of these events among men and women in military settings.
The mental health impact of MST, including PTSD, is discussed to frame implications for assessment and treatment. This course provides information that may be applicable to non-military sexual trauma as well.View Course Details »
Learn about effective psychotherapy treatments for PTSD. The course outlines the theoretical underpinnings, therapy components and empirical support for two evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs): prolonged exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
This is an interactive learning tool with optional exercises to establish understanding of the therapies. Case examples and audio excerpts of treatment sessions are included to help further understanding of cognitive behavioral therapies.View Course Details »
There are necessary components for quality PTSD assessments and reports. After providing background information on assessment, this course outlines the appropriate approach and components of an optimal evaluation of a patient for PTSD.
A description of important documents used to gather background or supportive information for the diagnosis of PTSD and report preparation is included. The course concludes with a discussion of the use of neuropsychological assessments and research needs in regard to diagnosing and assessing PTSD.View Course Details »
Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan highlight the co-occurrence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and PTSD. This course describes the neuropsychiatry of TBI, including functional anatomy of emotion, memory and behavior circuits and functional deficits in civilian brain injury. Current assessment and treatment advice is discussed, along with suggestions for future research initiatives.
This course includes graphics and figures to present information on neuropsychiatry and depict traumatic brain injuries.View Course Details »
PTSD is distinguished from other psychiatric disorders in that there is a known etiological component: and event that involves life threat, serious injury, or death. This course outlines the history of the PTSD diagnosis, provides a detailed description of the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, and reports prevalence rates.
A discussion of the course of PTSD, common co-occurring conditions, and risk factors for both civilians and Veterans are reported from the National Comorbidity Study and other recent investigations.View Course Details »
Being open and flexible to cross-cultural issues within PTSD care can enhance patient engagement and outcomes. Asian cultures, in particular, have many different sub-cultures within them. This course discusses levels of cultural competence, as well as how mental health treatment is perceived among Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorran, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino cultures. Suggestions for building rapport and communication to facilitate sensitivity to cultural norms and values are included.View Course Details »
As clinicians treat African-American patients with PTSD, it is important they take into account historical, cultural, and society issues as well as personal beliefs that may facilitate and/or hinder the therapeutic process.
This course provides information about African-American cultural history that may impact provider/client relationships during individual and group therapy, including issues of power and privilege, and family relationships. A culture grid is explained to aid the conceptualization of the therapeutic alliance when treating African-Americans with PTSD.View Course Details »
Hispanic culture describes a diverse group of people with origins in Spanish speaking cultures. After a brief review of the DSM-IV PTSD symptoms, this course presents an overview of considerations for providers working with Hispanic clients. Using case examples, the role of salient features and frequently encountered themes of Hispanic culture, such as primary/secondary language and family, are illustrated to frame assessment and treatment issues when providing PTSD services to male and female Hispanic clients.View Course Details »
There are barriers to PTSD treatment that you can do something about as a provider. This course reviews strategies for improving PTSD patients’ motivation to engage in treatment and to change long-standing maladaptive ways of coping with PTSD symptoms.
Topics reviewed include: behaviors that PTSD patients are often ambivalent about changing, treatment-related beliefs (fears and expectancies), roadblocks to admitting need to change, therapeutic alliance factors, and an overview of conducting a PTSD motivation enhancement group.View Course Details »
Traumatic exposure can affect many aspects of a person’s well-being and functioning, including physical health. This course illustrates how reaction to a traumatic event, particularly PTSD, mediates the effect of exposure and explains plausible direct and indirect mechanisms through which PTSD could promote poor health. A review of research findings related to the effects of traumatic exposure on the health of civilians and Veterans is included.View Course Details »
A crucial distinction is made between normal adaptive responses to stress and those that may be symptomatic of something more serious, combat stress injuries.
This course describes major stressors of military deployments and subsequent homecomings, as well as the two main reasons for relatively frequent adverse stress responses during deployment and mental health diagnosis and treatment afterward. After explaining the mechanisms, major components of combat stress injuries are presented, including the biological and psychosocial damage such injuries entail.View Course Details »
Types of severe stressors, as well as interpretations of and reactions to those stressors vary by culture. This course is a basic introduction to cross-cultural issues for providers who work with individuals after trauma. After defining culture, the discussion highlights how shared learned behavior and socially transferred meanings result in culturally-based assumptions about mental health. Strategies for modifying and/or augmenting assessment and treatment methods for cross-cultural clients are included.View Course Details »