PTSD Course Bridges a Gap in the Community

Community Engagement; Faculty; Public Health; Social Work

This fall, the Brown School launches its second post-masters certificate program with a collaborative teaching approach that will emphasize research-backed interventions, hands-on learning and advanced concepts helpful in treating PTSD.

“Evidence-Based Assessment and Treatment of PTSD in Adults” builds on the clinical strengths of the Brown School and will focus on Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET), as well as how to address common conditions that present with PTSD. These include substance use disorder and other mental health diagnoses.

This program is designed for those who already hold a master’s degree in a mental health or human services field and have interest in expanding their knowledge of working effectively with adults experiencing PTSD, due to a range of traumatic experiences.

The course was developed to address a great need in PTSD clinical care, said lead instructor Ryan Lindsay, who is the Brown School’s assistant dean of social work and chair of the Mental Health concentration.

“The actual implementation of evidence-based treatments for PTSD is very low,” he explained. “We are trying to bridge that gap for the community and practitioners working with these individuals.”

CPT and PET have been shown to be two of the most effective treatments for PTSD and have also proven effective for diverse populations—race, age and type of trauma, Lindsay said.

He also emphasized the course’s active learning, which will allow for immediate adoption of these techniques. “This course is practice-based. Rather than learning about the treatments and discussing them, you will be doing them. You will leave the course knowing how to do these therapies—what it looks like, what it feels like,” he said.

“Learning will occur through varied didactic presentations, small group activities, and role-plays,” explained Julie Mastnak, Brown School senior lecturer and one of the course instructors. “Our team of four instructors bring varied backgrounds and their collective wisdom to the program.”

Mastnak works on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinical Team at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis, specializing in diagnostic assessments.

Ryan Lindsay’s career has focused on training new and experienced providers in various evidence-based treatments, consulting with organizations on how to implement evidence-based programs, and aiding organizations in program development using evidence-based principles. He has a particular focus on suicidal behaviors and self-injury in relation to PTSD.

Fellow instructor Megan D. Keyes, PhD, is a clinical psychologist at the National Center for PTSD in its Dissemination and Training Division. Her section of the course will focus on complex issues related to PTSD diagnosis, treatment, and supporting long-term recovery through a consultative approach.

Karen Loaiza, a clinical psychologist with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, has significant knowledge in the assessment and treatment of those dually diagnosed with trauma and substance use disorders. Her teaching will focus on how to prepare clients prior to engaging them in CPT and PET treatment.

This certificate is the start of the School’s post-masters clinical offerings, Lindsay said. More courses are forthcoming, including “Evidence-Based Assessment and Treatment of Depression in Adults” in spring 2019.

“At the Brown School, we want to increase access to this kind of evidence-based clinical care in our community,” Lindsay said. “Access in this region is low to begin with, but access to communities of color who are low-income and under-resourced is next to nothing. I believe this will help build our mental health workforce to better address the needs of our community.”

Learn more or apply

The PTSD seven-day post-master’s certificate course takes place on select Fridays and Saturdays from September 14 – December 7, and offers 45 CEU credits. Applications are open now, and admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. You do not need to be an alum of the Brown School to be considered. 

NOTE: “Evidence-Based Assessment and Treatment of Depression in Adults,” taking place in spring 2019, will be accepting applications by October 2018.