By Dr. Thomas Christiansen and Dr. Sherrie Raz

Dr. Thomas Christiansen
Dr. Sherrie Raz

Exposure to traumatic events is not rare and has been consistently found in epidemiological studies. The World Mental Health Surveys of adults were carried out among nearly 70,000 participants from 24 countries ranging in economic status from low to high (Eur J Psychotraumatol (2017) 8(5): This data showed that at some time in their life 70.4% of the respondents had experienced at least one type of a traumatic event.

The literature informs us that adults and particularly children who sustain a traumatic physical injury or a hospitalization can expect to experience a range of mental health problems related to the hospitalization or the injury. Subsequently, due to the trauma they may experience changes in physical health and functioning occur (Injury, Nov.2013, Vol.44, Is,11, pgs.1383-1390.)

Forty-one research papers were reviewed on the relationship between mental health and traumatic physical injury. The studies, subsequently showed that, “post- traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety were frequent sequelae associated with traumatic physical injury.” (Injury,2013). It appears from the review, that these mental health symptoms were inconsistently, and poorly identified and treated, and screening for this symptomology is not routine practice during the hospital admission process (

Therefore, it is not surprising that due to, physical trauma, hospital trauma, childhood trauma, the COVID pandemic, etc., and the mental health sequelae that come with the array of traumatic events happening in our world today, that Trauma and Resilience trained Mental Health Counselors, and Social Workers, will be at premium. These front-line workers will be of the utmost importance for Physicians and their patients in the hospital setting.

South University is responding to the aforementioned mental health research on trauma and recent tragic events. In an effort to educate and expose students to added details about the impact of traumatic events on our population, South University’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Counseling program (CACREP-accredited) has integrated many aspects of traumatology into their curriculum. The purpose is to prepare emerging counselors with the tools to assist in providing service in response to a variety of traumatic events occurring across the globe. Whether it be tragic events like the Surfside Condominium Collapse, or natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes, our interns and alumni will be positioned to provide Psychological First Aid, and triage trauma cases for the benefit of victims and their families.

South University Professors, Dr. Thomas Christiansen and Dr. Sherrie Raz, in partnership with Jane Miller, of The Alliance for Kids, have devised a unique teaching program for Mental Health Counselors. South University’s goal is for those who graduate to possess the designation of Field Traumatologist. South University, West Palm Beach, is proud to be part of this unique training initiative which potentially will offer a competitive advantage to graduates and ultimately a major benefit to communities served.

In keeping with our program values of providing service, ethical practice, and evidenced based care, we are committed to fostering the well being of our world community.

For more information, visit

Dr. Thomas Christiansen is Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director. Dr. Sherrie Raz is Clinical Mental Health Counseling Adjunct Faculty Member and contributing author.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. South University, West Palm Beach, University Centre, 9801 Belvedere Rd., Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411. © 2021 South University. All rights reserved. The Clinical Mental Health Program located at South University, West Palm Beach, is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).