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

Posttraumatic Stress in the Medical Context: Spinal Cord Injury as the Model

by Bret A. Boyer, PhD 3 CE Credits

Spinal cord injury (SCI) represents a potentially life-threatening, extremely life-altering experience that leaves individuals with long-term needs for medical and support services. Like many other life-altering chronic conditions, SCI’s impact on an individual, as well as their support system, can be an overwhelming emotional and physical stressor. In the case of SCI, it can be devastating. This course provides an overview of factors necessary to equip clinicians to identify Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in response to life-altering medical conditions, such as spinal cord injury (SCI), and to provide therapeutic services to these individuals. Clinical implications specific to addressing PTSD among persons with SCI are provided with a focus on assessing and treating PTSD within this medical model.


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
  • Relevance
  • Definition of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
  • Definition of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Etiology of SCI
  • Prevalence of PTSD in the SCI Context
  • Risk Factors for Developing PTSD
  • Mediating Variables
  • Clinical Considerations
  • Summary
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Summarize the empirical evidence on the presence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in response to spinal cord injury (SCI), including the ability to define paraplegic vs. tetraplegic injuries and completeness of injury, as well as identify 4 common medical complications that arise from SCI.
  • Indicate 4 common risk factors that are associated with the development of PTSD in this medical context, along with 3 mediating variables that can influence adjustment.
  • Predict at least 4 clinically-relevant issues that may arise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD in response to medical traumas such as SCI.