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M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Trauma and Crisis Intervention Concentration

  • Chicago, IL
  • Full-Time, Part-Time
  • 2 Years Full-Time, 3 Years Part-Time

Graduates of The Chicago School’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology: Trauma and Crisis Intervention Concentration program will have the tools to provide mental health support to individuals who have experienced catastrophic or traumatic events. Guided by practitioner faculty, Counseling Psychology students will cover a wide range of topics, including: Disaster response Psychological first aid Evidence-based treatment […]

Graduates of The Chicago School’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology: Trauma and Crisis Intervention Concentration program will have the tools to provide mental health support to individuals who have experienced catastrophic or traumatic events.

Guided by practitioner faculty, Counseling Psychology students will cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Disaster response
  • Psychological first aid
  • Evidence-based treatment models
  • Roles of power and oppression in the experience of trauma within family, socio-political, and ethno-cultural systems

Trauma and Crisis Intervention graduates develop the confidence and necessary skills to work with trauma-related populations in a variety of facilities and areas, such as;

  • Crisis and prevention centers
  • Nonprofit associations
  • Government assistance programs
  • Schools

M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Trauma and Crisis Intervention: Chicago Student Experience

The Chicago Campus provides students an opportunity to immerse themselves into a culturally diverse city with nearly unlimited academic resources as well as excellent networking opportunities. Chicago is also home to some of the nation’s finest dining, entertainment, museums, and other activities.

At our flagship campus, The Chicago School has demonstrated a continued commitment to a diverse student population and expanding mental health services to multicultural and underserved communities.

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Traumatic Stress: Causes, Contexts, and Effects

This course provides an overview of trauma and its multilevel effects on development and physiology, interpersonal relationships, family systems, and societies. A conceptual framework of evolving perspectives of traumatic stress, as well as education about the ethnocultural milieu, is provided. Numerous sources of trauma, including child maltreatment, domestic violence, sexual assault, terrorism, armed conflict, and natural disasters are explored. Risk and protective factors are considered within the context of local, national and international efforts to reduce or respond to crises and other traumatic events, from both logistical and systems perspectives.

Assessment and Treatment of Trauma: Children and Adolescents

This trauma counseling course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and basic skills in methods of assessment and treatment of traumatized children and adolescents. Emphasis is placed on contextual factors that confer vulnerability or resilience to trauma and that may shape how traumatic events and reactions are interpreted by children and adolescents. The impact of trauma on the developing brain is examined through both a cognitive and affective lens and the evaluation of age-appropriate developmental mastery is explored for the purpose of supporting ongoing healthy development. Evidence-based individual, family, group, school-based, and post-disaster interventions are explored and applied.

Assessment and Treatment of Adults with Traumatic Disorders

Students in this trauma counseling course will be guided by a philosophy of “trauma-informed care” to support the development of knowledge and skills in current methods of assessment and treatment for traumatized adults. Students will learn how to identify signs and symptoms of trauma that manifest in the psychological, social and physiological realm. Specific methods of evidence-based treatment appropriate to the varied ethnocultural and other contextual settings and circumstances of adults are considered within the framework of individual, family and group therapy. Attention will be paid to the personal and professional development of the therapist, with emphasis upon the prevention of secondary traumatization and burnout.

The M.A. Counseling Psychology program at our Chicago campus aligns with degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois. Candidates for licensure must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Licensure and Certification FAQ

The practicum and internship placement experiences serve to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of a professional counselor. Students have the opportunity during the practicum and internship experiences to synthesize their knowledge, technique and skills learned in the classroom. These supervised field placements allow students to provide direct services to clients and demonstrate their understanding of key concepts in professional counseling in a clinical setting. Students are able to choose to apply to a wide variety of training sites that include community mental health centers, child welfare and family service agencies, substance abuse programs, college counseling centers, as well as private group practices. The sites available for the training experience are chosen based on their ability to serve diverse populations that will offer the best possible experience to equip students for working in the counseling field. Students are required to complete a minimum of a 9-month placement experience and complete at least 700 hours with 280 direct service hours during the placement to meet the Illinois licensure requirements.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook as well as the Internship Training Manual provided by the Applied Professional Practice department.

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Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
203 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.A. Counseling Psychology program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Students applying to the M.A. in Counseling Psychology program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay – Please answer the following question within three double spaced typed pages (approximately 500-750 words). Essay must specifically address the program/specialization for which you are applying.
    • Psychology is a vast discipline with many career options. In an essay format, please describe:
      • Why you chose this particular program/specialization making sure to cite specific experiences and examples.
      • Why it is important to you to study this discipline at a school that emphasizes cultural awareness, competence, and understanding of diversity (see our Commitment to Diversitystatement).
      • Your professional career goals as they relate to this specialization.
      • Why you believe this program will assist you in reaching these goals.
    • Official College/University Transcripts
      • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
      • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can also submit the letters online via the applicant portal.
    • Previous Coursework
      • Earned grade of C or better in the following undergraduate courses:
        • Psychology
        • Research Methods
      • Applicants without these courses must complete them in accordance with the policies outlined in the Progression requirement section of the catalog
  • Optional:  Official GRE scores may be used to enhance your application
    • You must arrange for your official GRE scores to be sent to the school. Our school code is 1119.
    • Students who have yet to take the GRE examination should contact them at to register for an exam date.
    • Students who have taken the test within the last five years should contact them at, to have their scores forwarded directly to the school.

International Application Requirements

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid Department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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