Specialization in Trauma-Focused School Psychology

Goals of the Training

With an increased focus on school safety and awareness of trauma exposure among youth, the need for trauma-focused training within the field of school psychology has emerged as critically important. This training is most effective in the context of comprehensive school mental health services that range from prevention to intervention.

Doctoral students completing this specialized training will be prepared to deliver comprehensive school mental health services with the goals of preventing trauma and treating youth exposed to trauma.

Doctoral students will also emerge with the skill set to train practitioners how to create and deliver these services in public charter schools, which are becoming a centerpiece of educational reform across the country.

Elements of Training

Specialized Coursework

  • Stress and Trauma
  • One additional methodology/statistics course beyond current requirements

Specialized Practicum

Doctoral students will complete two years of practicum with community agencies providing trauma-focused comprehensive school mental health services in New Orleans public schools and to New Orleans children and families.

Specialized Training in Evidence-Based Interventions

  • Psychological First Aid
  • CBITS and Bounce Back
  • GTI
  • TF-CBT
  • Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents

Research Relevant to Stress and Trauma

At least one mentored, independent research project (MS thesis or PhD dissertation) focuses on stress, trauma, adversity, or related constructs.

Disciplinary Leadership

One purpose of this Specialization is to produce psychologists with the capacity to serve as disciplinary leaders in the area of trauma-focused school psychology.

Doctoral students will complete one semester-long experience requiring a time commitment of 5-8 hours per week. They may choose from the five options below or petition to create their own option.

Disciplinary leadership experiences require a written MOU that documents a plan with the following five elements:

  1. The selection of an advisor. If the advisor is neither of the Specialization co-directors, doctoral students are also required to select one of the co-directors as a co-advisor.
  2. A formal learning experience that will occur 1) in a course, 2) in a series of workshops, or 3) under formal mentorship with an independent learning plan.
  3. An applied practice or service element. Examples are described with the options below.
  4. A final product, which could include a written paper, policy report, preparation of a training workshop, “graduate student corner” Communiqué submission, etc.
  5. Participation in program-wide shared learning through 1) discussing your project in a large group setting (i.e., large group supervision, colloquium, brown bag), and 2) placing your final product in the program’s repository.

Students may choose from one of the following five Disciplinary Leadership options or petition to design their own:

  1. Higher education pedagogy and instruction. Complete CELT 7010, 7020, and 7030, a 3-credit teaching sequence.* Final product could include a guest lecture, large group presentation, or school-based professional development presentation. *Note that the CELT course is spread over three semesters.
  2. Research to practice communication. Identify an area of scholarship that is ripe to translate for a practice audience and co-write an article (final product) with your mentor for Communiqué or another practice-oriented publication.
  3. Advocacy. Complete pre-training advocacy workshops and/or an advocacy training day, research your topic for discussion with legislators and complete a “Hill visit” in DC or Baton Rouge through a professional organization or advocacy group. The final product could include a policy brief. Hill visits may cost money; travel and training funding can be sought through the various graduate student travel funding options.
  4. Policy. Select a policy organization for a semester-long placement, during which time you will complete a policy-relevant project that aligns with the organization’s goals and needs. The project will require partnering with the organization, understanding their needs, conducting research, and preparing a useful final product for the organization, such as a policy brief, website, or white paper. Example organizations may include the NOLA Health Department, the Mayor’s Office, CYPB, LPHI, Agenda for Children, the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, LACCR, the UP Institute, LCRC, and Beloved Communities.
  5. Crisis Intervention Training. Participate in the NASP PREPaRE Model’s training sequence to become a trainer. The final product is certification as a trainer, which includes the delivery of the training. Participating in this training may cost money; travel and training funding can be sought through the various graduate student travel funding options.
  6. Petition to create your own disciplinary leadership experience.

Mentoring around Trauma-Related Training and Activities

Doctoral students will participate in one group meeting every fall and spring with faculty and students involved in the Specialization where they have the opportunity to engage in shared learning from guest speakers and seek mentoring on issues related to coursework, practicum, research, leadership, professional development, and self-care.