Ethics of Trauma Treatment

Presented by Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP on 06-05-2015 at 9 a.m. Pacific

Therapists often encounter numerous complex ethical issues when treating traumatized individuals. It is essential for therapists to develop strong personal and professional ethics to complement professional standards, relevant laws, and formal codes of ethics. These ethics need to be clear yet flexible to effectively manage the challenges associated with these treatments and address the needs of both client and therapist.

This presentation will review issues regarding mindful application of ethics, which could be further described as the therapist's self-reflection on his or her ability to treat traumatized individuals while maintaining awareness of the challenges and risks involved. This ongoing self-reflection evaluates the therapist's empathy toward and recognition of client needs and personal needs, anticipation of common pitfalls, and willingness to learn from mistakes and seek consultation as necessary. We will address issues associated with the treatment frame, the most common ethical dilemmas in trauma treatment, and the importance of maintaining professional boundaries, particularly during crises resulting from attachment and trauma-based relational challenges.

This intermediate, instructional level web conference is designed to help clinicians:

  1. List at least five risks associated with trauma treatment;
  2. Describe several common ethical challenges of treating traumatized individuals;
  3. Utilize several strategies for self-reflection and self-care in the event that ethical dilemmas arise;
  4. Identify several treatment frame issues that should be in place for the treatment of traumatized people.

If you have any questions or concerns about this web conference, or would like more information, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Attendees who register for this event will log in to the web conference center by using a computer and calling in to the teleconference line. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via computer. Live streaming video and/or document sharing will also be available to participants. Alternatively, attendees may dial in to the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions.

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable.

This event will include lecture and question-and-answer periods. A recording of the web conference will be available to members in's Continuing Education Archives within two weeks. After the live event, a written transcript of the event will be available in the Member's Area. Members of can receive continuing education credits for attending this event by logging in to the Member's Area.

394CE hours and counting!

All are available to members at no additional cost.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE credits will be provided by for attending this web conference in its entirety. is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services. is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content., SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.

Registration Information

This web conference is available at no cost to members.

This event has already taken place. An audio recording for this event may be available in the Member's Area.


Terrific topic and presenter! - Madeleine Babette Jenny, PsyD

​The depth of knowledge in this presentation was amazing. The presenter is obviously a great resource for working with individuals who are dealing with trauma. - Kristen Martinez, MEd, EdS, LMHCA, NCC






Meet the Presenter

Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP

Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP

Christine Courtois, PhD, ABPP is an author, consultant, and counseling psychologist with a private practice in Washington, DC. She completed her doctoral degree in 1979 at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Courtois is co-editor of Treating Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents and Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: An Evidence-Based Guide, author of Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy, and co-author of The Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach. Her latest work as a co-editor focuses on spiritually oriented trauma treatment and is scheduled for publication this year.

Dr. Courtois is a National Clinical Training Consultant for Elements Behavioral Health/Promises in Los Angeles and Malibu and a former president of the psychological trauma division of the APA. She is presently chair for the APA's Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Guideline Development Panel, and she has facilitated the development of guidelines regarding complex trauma treatment for three professional organizations. Dr. Courtois is a cofounder and former clinical and training director of an inpatient trauma program called The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation in 2006, the Distinguished Contribution to the Psychology of Women Award from the APA in 2005, and the Sarah Haley Award for Clinical Excellence from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in 2003, among others. For more information about Dr. Courtois and her work, please visit

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • ace is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content. APA approval applies to all events listed after May 2011.
  • Logo has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
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    This course has been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • ace, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 03/30/2016 – 03/30/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education clock hours.
  •, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.