Traumatology Trends: A Content Analysis of Three Counseling Journals from 1994 to 2014

By Webber, Jane M.; Kitzinger, Robert et al. | Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, July 2017 | Go to article overview

Traumatology Trends: A Content Analysis of Three Counseling Journals from 1994 to 2014


Webber, Jane M., Kitzinger, Robert, Runte, Julia K., Smith, Carol M., Mascari, J. Barry, Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD


The field of traumatology in the United States has expanded rapidly since the devastating events of September 11,2001 (Briere & Scott, 2015; Cook & Newman, 2014; Mascari & Webber, 2010). The impact of disasters and acts of terrorism catapulted the counseling profession to a greater awareness of the sequelae of trauma and the neurobiological context of trauma treatment (Makinson & Young, 2012; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2014; Webber & Mascari, 2015; Webber, Mascari, Dubi, & Gentry, 2006).

Trauma is universal, and most counselors in professional practice are likely to encounter clients affected by individual and interpersonal trauma (Courtois & Gold, 2009; Makinson & Young, 2012; Trippany, White Kress, & Wilcoxon, 2004; Webber & Mascari, 2015). The majority of adults in the United States have experienced one or more traumatic events (D. M. Elliott, 1997; Norris, 1992; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2014). More than half of the individuals in social services and criminal justice systems are trauma survivors (D. E. Elliott, Bjelajac, Fallot, Markoff, & Reed, 2005). Lifetime prevalence of rape is nearly one in five for women and one in 71 for men, with 43.9% of women and 23.4% of men experiencing other forms of sexual violence (Breiding et al., 2014).

In the 10-year Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, 63% of the 17,337 participants experienced at least one category of childhood trauma, and 20% experienced four or more categories with higher physical and mental health risks later as adults (Anda et al., 2006). In the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, the prevalence of contact sexual abuse was 22.0%; physical abuse, 10.8%; psychological abuse, 11.1%; and violent treatment of the mother, 12.5% (Anda et al., 2006). Copeland, Keeler, Angold, and Costello (2007) reported that 67.28% of the children in a representative sample in the Great Smoky Mountains Study were exposed to one or more traumatic events by the age of 16. Those exposed to trauma had nearly twice (59.5%) the rate of psychiatric disorders than children who were not exposed to trauma.

Mass trauma (e.g., terrorism, interpersonal violence, natural disasters, complex humanitarian emergencies, military conflict, war) has increased the demand for clinicians trained in trauma counseling (National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, 2013). The expanded intensity, rate, and duration of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in a significant rise in the number of trauma-related diagnoses among military personnel (Hines, Sundin, Rona, Wessely, & Fear, 2014; Mac Donald et al., 2015), and neuroimaging has revealed measurable changes in brain structure and functioning in combat veterans in the aftermath of traumatic stress (Kuo, Kaloupek, & Woodward, 2012). Only 34% to 36% of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) received treatment in the year after their diagnosis, and those who received psychotherapy often received an inadequate number of sessions (Cully et al., 2008; Hundt et al., 2014; Mott, Hundt, Sansgiry, Mignogna, & Cully, 2014). Hundt et al. (2014) concluded, "This underutilization is problematic because PTSD is associated with suicide risk, physical disability, reduced quality of life, and employment and relationship difficulties" (p. 731). In the general population, veterans were twice as likely to die by suicide than nonveterans and were 58 times more likely than nonveterans to use firearms as the method (Kaplan, Huguet, McFarland. & Newsome, 2007).

Among acts of mass violence in 2012 were the tragedies at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The deaths of children, adolescents, and adults caused by active shooters in 2012 nearly doubled the number in any prior year (Crimando, 2013). As a result of mass traumatic events, "The expectation of psychological trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of catastrophic events is now part of our national consciousness" (Reyes & Elhai, 2004, p. …

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