Certification is awarded to those individuals who successfully complete the Application and Examination for Certification in Acute Traumatic Stress Management. The examination is based on Comprehensive Acute Traumatic Stress Management published by the Academy. The Academy awards six (6) continuing education credits to those individuals who achieve Certification in Acute Traumatic Stress Management.
ACUTE TRAUMATIC STRESS MANAGEMENT
During times of crisis, we are quick to address “physical trauma.” We don’t wait to call for help, and emergency medical personnel certainly don’t wait to transport someone to the hospital before efforts are made to control bleeding. Unfortunately, a “hidden trauma” is often ignored. This trauma leaves the deepest scars and changes people forever—traumatic stress.
At the turn of the century, in our pre-September 11th world, Acute Traumatic Stress Management (ATSM) was born (Lerner and Shelton, 2001). ATSM was developed to provide emergency responders with a Traumatic Stress Response Protocol. It was designed to raise the level of care—beyond traditional emergency medical intervention. It enabled first responders to address emergent psychological needs.
There were many lessons learned after September 11th. One of them was the realization that crises do not always have a beginning and an end—and, that traumatic stress can impact individuals, groups, organizations, communities—even an entire nation. We have all observed how traumatic stress disables people, causes disease, precipitates mental disorders, leads to substance abuse, and destroys relationships and families.
Traumatic stress is experienced by survivors of disasters and catastrophes (e.g., hurricanes, airplane crashes, terrorist bombings, train derailments, and floods). However, it does not have to take a highly publicized event to cause debilitating emotional scars. Traumatic stress has many “faces,” and is experienced every day during and in the aftermath of our personal tragedies (e.g., facing a serious illness, dealing with the loss of a loved one, experiencing an automobile accident, etc.).
Much has been written about crisis intervention—”psychological first-aid” introduced in the aftermath of a tragedy. Notwithstanding, there is little information offering practical strategies to help people during a traumatic event. This is a time when people are perhaps most suggestible and vulnerable to traumatic stress—a tremendous opportunity for intervention.
ATSM offers “practical tools” for addressing the wide spectrum of traumatic experiences—from mild to the most severe. It is a goal-directed process delivered within the framework of a facilitative or helping attitudinal climate. ATSM aims to “jump-start” an individual’s coping and problem-solving abilities. It seeks to stabilize acute symptoms of traumatic stress and stimulate healthy, adaptive functioning. Finally, ATSM may increase the likelihood of an individual pursuing mental health intervention, if need be, in the future.
Applicants who fail to demonstrate that they have met the requisite criteria for Certification will be informed as to the reason for denial. The candidate will be given a second opportunity to provide additional supportive documentation.
Members achieving Certification in Acute Traumatic Stress Management may identify themselves using the following credentials:
Robert J. Miller, B.A., C.A.T.S.M.
Certified in Acute Traumatic Stress Management
American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
in collaboration with the National Center for Crisis Management