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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Trauma and Biology

Richmont is opening a portion of this course to Richmont alumni and the surrounding community for Continuing Education Credit. Please note that students will be taking this course for academic credit and professionals are able to register for Continuing Education credit at a reduced rate.



When: Friday, February 18 from 9:00am – 4:00pm with a 1 hour lunch break (noon-1pm)

Saturday, February 19 from 9:00am-4:00pm with a 1 hour lunch break (noon-1pm)

Where/How: Richmont’s Chattanooga Campus (1815 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404)

Presenter: Wendy D’Andrea, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research


Dr. D’Andrea’s research focuses on the differences between acute trauma, such as an auto accident or single-incident assault, and chronic trauma, such as sustained physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Her lab investigates how information processes, especially attention and cognition, are impacted by prolonged trauma exposure and re-shaped through therapeutic interventions. She is also particularly interested in the physiological signature of chronic trauma, and the ways in which it differs from the signature of acute trauma. They use measures of autonomic reactivity such as heart rate, skin conductance, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), to investigate these differences.


 This intermediate training will review physiological impacts of traumatic experiences, including psychobiology of the acute trauma response; impact of chronic traumatic stress on a functional and anatomical neurological level; and physiological markers of the chronic stress response and their behavioral manifestations. The course will review current research regarding the intersect between trauma and the body, and implications for treatment will be discussed.

Target Audience: Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Graduate Students

Learning Objectives: As a result of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Summarize the links between brain systems and cognitive-emotional responses.
  • Summarize the links between brain systems and relational attunement and capacities.
  • Describe the biological systems implicated in the traumatic response, in its immediate and long-term aftermath.
  • Identify ways self-regulatory capacity is impacted in trauma survivors.
  • Describe ways in which capacities of cognition, emotion, and relational function are biologically inter-related.
  • Identify at least three ways that physiological changes linked to trauma may manifest as emotional or behavioral symptoms.
  • Articulate indicators of hyper-and hypo-arousal.
  • Link DSM diagnoses to biological mechanisms related to trauma responses.
  • Apply at least three techniques used to stabilize physiological responses to trauma and return a client’s arousal level to their window of tolerance.
  • Discuss the psychophysiology of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma and begin to identify self-care methods for the therapist to minimize vicarious trauma in their work with traumatized clients.
  • Create at least three ways of explaining the psychobiology of trauma to clients via layperson explanation.
  • Describe at least one finding of neuroplasticity for recovery from trauma in layperson terms.

Basic Agenda:

Date: February 18

Lecture: The Neurobiology of Trauma-Part 1

Topics Covered: Theories of the etiology of trauma; Trauma treatment outcome research; Neuroscience basics; Information processing; Developmental neurobiology

Date: February 19

Lecture: The Neurobiology of Trauma-Part 2

Topics Covered: Trauma-related information processing; Trauma-related neurobiology; Biologically sound trauma therapy; Biologically geared psychoeducation

Continuing Education: 15 CEs Awarded.


Richmont Alumni: $330

Professionals: $379

Note: Attendees are required to attend both days to receive CE credit for this event. Partial credit will not be awarded. Space is limited. Please register early to reserve your spot. Attendees will be admitted to this seminar on a first come, first serve basis.


REFUNDS: Full refunds will only be available prior to February 11th.

Please direct your questions regarding this seminar to Martha Busby at .

There is no known commercial support for this program.

Richmont Graduate University has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4534. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identifited. RGU is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.  

Richmont Graduate University is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Richmont Graduate University maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Trauma and Biology