Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles E. Myers

Department Affiliation

Counseling and Educational Psychology

Second Advisor

Lawrence R. Crouch

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Angela G. Spiers

Department Affiliation

Counseling and Educational Psychology


Many professional counselors and counselors in training (CITs) lack the foundational knowledge and training needed to adequately employ trauma-informed attitudes and skills when working with individuals who have experienced trauma. Therefore, more research is needed to answer questions such as what are the most applicable teaching methods for counselors seeking to gain a comprehensive knowledge base in traumatology. The present study was a review of the literature leading to an original contribution––The Foundational Cross-Cutting New Haven Trauma Competencies Workbook––and an interpretative qualitative inquiry into the lived experiences and reflections of CITs at a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs-accredited university who received trauma-informed pedagogy using this workbook as a supplement. The study’s overarching research question was, What are the lived experiences, reflections, and attitudes from a phenomenological perspective for CITs who have received specific trauma-informed pedagogy derived from the New Haven Competencies’ cross-cutting competencies? Study methodology included individual interviews, theme review via a focus group, and member checking. Analysis of results identified 5 pedagogical themes: how materials are presented can impact student experiences, the importance of using real-life experiences for understanding trauma’s complexity and depth, the importance of self-care in trauma training, enriching student trauma ideology by presenting assessment tools in training, and including opportunities for reflection to enrich the learning process. Study findings offer insights into the structuring and teaching of trauma-informed curriculum and recommendations for counselors and supervisors. Future research directions are also discussed.