Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Carter, Adam W.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Psychological trauma is common in mental health, the recent pandemic, the ongoing social justice issues, and the sociopolitical environment add to an already high rate of trauma in the general population. The literature revealed a paucity of adequately trained trauma counselors across the mental health field. Many counseling programs do not offer specialized training despite the prevalence of trauma. Further, the literature revealed that many counseling programs have a training clinic at the university that serves the campus community. The prevalence of trauma in the general community, the prevalence among university students, the likelihood of a clinic at the university, and the ongoing social issues we all face is why counseling programs should offer this training. This qualitative phenomenological study explores the lived experience of trauma counselors-in-training. The midwestern university, where this study took place, is one of few that has a trauma certificate. This study was designed to learn about the students’ lived experience, to learn about how secondary traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, and burnout may affect trauma counselors-in-training. Further, this study was designed to fill a gap in the literature to help define what trauma counselor training is, how trauma counseling can be taught to a potentially traumatized student, and to explore the asynchronous nature of this specialized training. Conclusions are drawn from general themes that emerged from the study and recommendations are made for the field of trauma counseling, future course design, research, supervision, and future teaching.Keywords: traumatic therapeutic alliance, trauma counselor training, trauma supervision, trauma counseling, phenomenological, qualitative study


134 pages




Northern Illinois University

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NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

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