The Trauma-Competent Clinician: A Qualitative Model of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes Supporting Adlerian-Based Trauma Psychotherapy

By Melinda R. Paige, Ph.D, LPC, CPCS, NCC


We present in this article qualitative data to empirically support the idea Adlerians have many of the foundational skills, beliefs, and knowledge required to be trauma-competent clinicians. In doing so, we posit evidence-based trauma-counseling competencies for trauma counselor education, training, and development using applied principles of Individual Psychology; this strengths-based model requires a fundamental belief in recovery and resilience that relies heavily on social interest and includes encouragement, holism, and lifestyle considerations.

Keywords: Individual Psychology, trauma competency, qualitative research, trauma-competent counseling, professional competencies, traumatic stress.

No experience is in itself a cause of success or failure. We do not suffer from the shock of our experiences—the so-called trauma—but instead make out of them whatever suits our purposes. We are not determined by our experiences but are self-determined by the meaning we give to them. . . . As soon as we find and understand the meaning a person ascribes to life, we have the key to the whole personality.—Adler, 1931/2010, p. 24

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