The Diagnosis and Treatment of Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders (2 credit hours)

Program Summary:  This course examines the diagnosis and treatment of trauma and stressor related disorders using the DSM-5 and includes a discussion of reactive attachment disorder, disinhibited social engagement disorder, adjustment disorder, acute stress disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.  The course explores the following:  characteristics and symptoms, specifiers, impairment and distress, changes in the DSM-5, prevalence, comorbid disorders, differential diagnostic issues, and treatment.  Case presentations are given.

This course is recommended for social workers, counselors, and therapists and it is appropriate for beginning and intermediate levels of practice 

Find the reading at:

Reading:  The Diagnosis and Treatment of Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders

Authors:  Eileen E. Joy, MA and Cynthia L. Turk, Ph.D

Course Objectives: To enhance professional practice, values, skills, and knowledge by identifying key issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of trauma and stressor related disorders.

Learning Objectives:  Describe changes to trauma and stressor related disorders in the DSM-5.  Compare and contrast characteristics and symptoms for the trauma and stressor related disorders.  Identify treatment options for trauma and stressor related disorders.  Identify the components of prolonged exposure therapy.  Describe common barriers to treatment.

Review our pre-reading study guide.

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1: The category of trauma- and stressor-related disorders is new to the DSM-5 and includes all of the following except:
2: The DSM-5 adds separate criteria for identifying PTSD in children under
3: In Reactive Attachment Disorder, the lack of stable attachment is associated with behavioral disturbances that exist before the child is
4: The DSM-5 categorizes RAD and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder as
5: Which of the following is a necessary feature in the etiology of RAD?
6: Children with RAD appear to respond well to being placed with
7: Treatments for RAD should focus on working with the child alone.
8: In contrast to RAD, children with DSED
9: Research shows that DSED is characterized by
10: Although DSED symptoms may persist into school age, there is a significant drop in disinhibited attachment behaviors between _______________ for children adopted from institutionalized care.
11: ADHD can be differentiated from DSED if the child also has inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive symptoms
12: In contrast to RAD, DSED symptoms seem to improve __________ drastically when children are placed in a stable home.
13: To meet criteria for adjustment disorder, individuals must experience either significant impairment or distress that is ____________ to the severity of the stressor.
14: The most common subtype of adjustment disorder diagnosed in clinical settings is
15: Consistent with limited time frame for diagnosing adjustment disorder, two thirds of those with the diagnosis at 3 months do not continue to have symptoms at _____________.
16: Typically, adjustment disorder is treated with ______________ unless the stressors are longstanding or there is another comorbid disorder that may also be treated.
17: Acute stress disorder describes symptoms experienced between three days to ______________ following a traumatic event.
18: Individuals can be diagnosed with acute stress disorder if
19: Which of the following is an example of a dissociative symptom?
20: In a sample of people admitted to the hospital for traumatic injuries, about ___________ of those with acute stress disorder also met criteria for another disorder.
21: Which of the following is recommended as the standard treatment for acute stress disorder by the World Health Organization?
22: Many people naturally recover from traumatic experiences.
23: The diagnosis of PTSD includes at least _________  of re-experiencing, avoidance, mood/cognition, and hyperarousal symptoms.
24: PTSD can be specified
25: The lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the general population is approximately
26: Approximately half of those with PTSD first developed
27: Which of the following is common with PTSD?
28: Major depressive disorder shares symptoms with PTSD, including all of the following except:
29: Which therapy is designed specifically for the treatment of PTSD?
30: Which of the following is an example of 'accommodation?'
31: The following is written early in therapy and describes the impact of the trauma on clients' beliefs about themselves, others, and the world:
32: Conflicts between pre-existing beliefs and information from the traumatic experience are
33: Purposefully confronting feared memories, situations, and objects describes which of the following?
34: In emotional processing theory, the fear structure is maladaptive and can result in PTSD symptoms when the structure
35: In prolonged exposure therapy, breathing retraining is taught during the _________ session.
36: Remembering the traumatic event by repeatedly describing it out loud in session refers to:
37: Read the case example of prolonged exposure therapy starting on page 39.  In this scenario, which of the following activities was introduced during Sarah's first session?
38: Which of the following activities was introduced during Sarah's second session?
39: During her first imaginal exposure, when Sarah shares a feeling the therapist asks:
40: During the fourth session, Sarah again engaged in imaginal exposure, repeatedly retelling the story and adding
41: During the 8th session, the importance of avoiding __________ was discussed as critical in maintaining gains.
42: As can be seen in Figure 1 on page 46, Sarah's PTSD scores were significantly elevated until session __________________.
43: Which of the following treatments involves 2-3 phases, with initial phases focused on building social and emotion-regulation skills in order to prepare clients for later phases focused on processing traumatic memories and consolidating treatment gains?
44: Dialectical behavior therapy was first developed to treat clients with
45: There is ___________ support for the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in the treatment of PTSD.
46: An important aspect of exposures and therapy in general is that the client is doing difficult things in a(n) _____________ environment.
47: Common barriers to treatment:  Which of the following describes when a client engages in exposures but does not experience significant distress?

In order to purchase or take this course, you will need to log in. If you do not have an account, you will need to register for a free account.

After you log in, a link will appear here that will allow you to purchase this course.


Free State Social Work, LLC, provider #1235, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Free State Social Work, LLC maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 9/6/2018 - 9/6/2021. Social workers completing this course receive 2 continuing education credits.

Free State Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP NO. 6605. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Free State Social Work is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

G.M. Rydberg-Cox, MSW, LSCSW is the Continuing Education Director at Free State Social Work and responsible for the development of this course.  She received her Masters of Social Work in 1996 from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago and she has over 20 years of experience.  She has lived and worked as a social worker in Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City.  She currently practices in the area of hospital/medical social work.  The reading materials for this course were developed by another organization.