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Trauma in the Developmental Context

Richmont is opening a portion of this course in the Trauma Certificate to Richmont alumni and the surrounding community for Continuing Education Credit. If you would like to attend the full course, then you’ll need to register as a non-degree student through Richmont’s Record’s Office (


Continuing Education: 15 CEs Awarded

When: Friday, October 20 – Saturday, October 21, 2023

Friday & Saturday 9AM-6PM

Where: Richmont’s Atlanta Campus (1900 The Exchange SE, Building 100 Atlanta, GA 30339)

Presenters: Dr. Jana Pressley & Dr. Joseph Spinazzola

Dr. Jana Pressley is Director of Clinical Services at the Complex Trauma Treatment Center Boston, Founding Faculty at the Complex Trauma Training Institute, Co-Director of the Complex Trauma Treatment Affiliates, and Senior Training Associate of the Foundation Trust.   A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Pressley specializes in the treatment of youth, adults, and couples/families impacted by developmental trauma, as well as providing consultation supporting systems-level implementation of trauma-informed care in organizations.  She teaches trauma-related courses at the graduate level, and has designed and implemented trauma treatment specialization courses and qualitative trauma-focused research labs for graduate programs.

Dr. Pressley was formerly the Director of Clinical Training and Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Wheaton College Graduate School, and she currently serves as Adjunct Associate Professor at Richmont Graduate University in the trauma certificate track.  Dr. Pressley’s research focuses on the experience of court-involved young adults who have suffered relational trauma in the midst of chronic poverty and community violence, as well as the impact of complex trauma history on adult spirituality and meaning-making.  Dr. Pressley is also a national trainer and consultant in the Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) and Component-Based Psychotherapy (CBP) complex trauma intervention models.

Dr. Joseph Spinazzola is an internationally recognized traumatic stress researcher and trainer, and one of the most prolific scholars in the field of complex trauma. Dr. Spinazzola is the Managing Director of the Complex Trauma Institute, Founding Faculty at the Complex Trauma Training Institute, Senior Clinician at the Complex Trauma Treatment Center Boston, and Co-Director of the Complex Trauma Treatment Affiliates program. He is also Executive Director of the Foundation Trust, Adjunct Professor at Richmont Graduate University, Principal Investigator of the Developmental Trauma Disorder Field Trials, and a member of the Forensic Panel.  Dr. Spinazzola founded the Complex Trauma Treatment Network of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and was a member of the Complex Trauma Taskforce of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Dr. Spinazzola has overseen regional and statewide trauma-informed care initiatives and has originated and directed complex trauma conferences and intensive training institutes in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong. He has co-authored trauma treatment guidelines, developed evidence-based intervention manuals, and designed and overseen all facets of randomized controlled trials of psychotherapeutic, psychopharmaceutical and mind-body interventions for PTSD and related disorders.

Dr. Spinazzola has a wealth of experience with program development and evaluation. He is a national trainer and consultant in the Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) model; lead developer of Trauma Drama, an improvisational theater-based youth violence prevention and tertiary intervention model, and co-developer and lead trainer of Component-Based Psychotherapy (CBP), a relationally-based, traumatic stress and dissociation treatment model for adults with histories of complex childhood trauma.  In addition, he is the creator of, a comprehensive information and resource website for trauma-impacted individuals, families and providers.

Topic: This introductory seminar will focus on the impact of trauma exposures on the developing child, and ways these impacts may continue to manifest through the lifespan.  The course will include a review of normative development, and impact of trauma on developmental tasks; an overview of the attachment system and variations in attachment formation; and a discussion of the functional nature of behaviors.  Implications for treatment will be briefly discussed.

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

Instruction Level: Beginner

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

  • Summarize the current knowledge regarding exposure to traumatic stress, including epidemiology and clinical course.
  • Define “complex traumatic stress.”
  • Differentiate between simple and complex traumatic responses.
  • Describe and explain long-term consequences of exposure to traumatic stress.
  • Explain basic ways that traumatic experiences impact physiological functioning.
  • Discuss the biological systems implicated in the traumatic response.
  • Explain the developmental pathways model of the impact early experience.
  • Explain the relation between early trauma and long-term consequences
  • Describe key processes relevant to the long-term impact of trauma.
  • Describe the functional nature of adaptation.
  • Discuss and describe the intersection of trauma with race, class, and cultural oppression
  • Describe the contextual variable that contributes to complex trauma.
  • Differentiate between simple and complex traumatic responses.
  • Describe the role the early care-giving environment plays in the childhood development of basic self regulatory capacity.
  • Explain the ways in which the caregiver context can both help and hinder recovery to traumatic stress.
  • Define factors associated with contextual risk and resiliency.
  • Identify core themes of spiritual impact that may overlap with a complex trauma history.
  • Identify basic primers for trauma-informed treatment and apply material through case discussion

Basic Agenda

Date Lecture
Day 1 Understanding Complex Trauma:

·        Prevalence

·        Etiology

·        Diagnostic issues

·        Developmental impact

·        Core components of complex trauma

·        Intersection of trauma with race, class, and cultural oppression

·        Developmental Trauma Disorder

Day 2




·        Application of complex trauma understanding

·        Applying core components to case material

·        Understanding risk factors and protective factors in complex trauma impact

Continuing Education: 15 CEs Awarded


Alumni – $450.00

Guests – $500.00

Note: Attendees are required to attend both days to receive CE credit for this eventPartial credit will not be awarded. 


Please direct your questions regarding this seminar to Amy Estes at

Refund Policy: In order to receive a full refund, requests must be made prior to October 13, 2023.

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 identified. Richmont Graduate University is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. 

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

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Trauma in the Developmental Context