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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Response to Medical Illness: A Clinical Perspective on Trauma and Posttraumatic Growth

by Ronit Levy, PsyD 5 CE Credits

Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic and/or acute disease can be a life-altering moment. The stress of the diagnosis, treatments, and accompanying physical and functional changes can be traumatic for the patient and, by extension, their families. This course provides a comprehensive overview of trauma, resilience, and posttraumatic growth in response to medical illness. Major models of trauma, factors contributing to resilience (e.g., what distinguishes those who cope well from those who do not), and ways in which individuals work toward effective coping and gaining mastery are discussed. Theory- and evidence-based techniques to assist patients and their families along the posttraumatic growth continuum are presented.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Brief History of Trauma Research
  • Prevalence of Trauma in the Medical Context
  • Theoretical Models of Trauma
  • Trauma in Response to Medical Illness
  • Posttraumatic Growth: Acceptance, Making Meaning, and Moving On
  • Factors that Influence Coping in Response to Illness
  • The Role of Healthcare Providers in Promoting and Supporting Resilience and PTG
  • Conclusion
  • Resources
  • References


Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Describe the diagnostic etiology and occurrence of health-related trauma.
  • Discuss the process of posttraumatic growth (PTG) in response to illness from an evidence-based perspective, drawing on 3 major underlying theories.
  • Indicate 8 key sociodemographic, psychological, and medical factors that impact emotional adjustment to disease.
  • Identify and clinically apply 7 theory- and evidence-based approaches to assist patients, and their families, to effectively cope with health-related trauma and promote psychological resilience to acute and/or chronic medical conditions.