What is a Trauma Concentration for an MSW?

A Master’s in Social Work or MSW is a frequently sought degree for individuals who want to provide counseling services as a professional career. In this day and age, there are a considerable number of people who seek the MSW degree with a particular concentration. For example, people seek an MSW with a concentration in drug abuse and addiction counseling. Others seek an MSA with a trauma concentration.

What is Trauma Counseling?

Trauma counseling is a therapeutic area in which a counselor focuses on assisting people address issues like grief, depression, anxiety, and other emotions that oftentimes arise out of a truly life-altering event. As the moniker indicates, the life-altering event typically is something that fairly can be described as “traumatic.” Examples of traumatic life events that can lead a person to seek trauma counseling include death of a family member of other loved one, divorce, serious illness, loss of home, and similar types of major adverse life events.

Elements of a Trauma Concentration for MSW Course of Study

Coping with trauma can prove to be a herculean challenge for many people, and understandable so. A person interested in counseling people in suffering the aftereffects of a traumatic event benefit from some specific educational programming when seeking an MSW degree with a concentration in trauma.

A key element of a course of study for an MSW degree with a concentration in trauma centers around what is known as “traumatic grief,” according to Psychology Today. Addressing traumatic grief presents a significant challenge for a person suffering from the condition and a counselor alike. While each individual grieves in his or her own, the reality that grief in a particular situation stems from a traumatic event can prevent a healthy grieving and healing process. Specific courses of study associated with a trauma concentration for an MSW consistently have a trauma-informed focus.

Other core elements of study in an MSW degree program with a concentration in trauma include undertaking proper assessments of a trauma survivor and ascertaining if a person requires a dual diagnosis of a mental health condition and substance abuse issue. A notable percentage of people who suffered some type of trauma self-medicate with mind altering substances in hopes of coping with their emotional issues.

In addition, the risk of suicide is higher amongst people suffering from the challenging emotional aftereffects of a traumatic life event. Consequently, a major component of a degree program for an MSW with a concentration on trauma is suicide risk assessment and suicide prevention.

Finally, people are particularly prone to face extreme or traumatic grief after the death of a loved one. As a result, a considerable focus of this type of course of MSW study is on the specific needs of individuals trying to deal with life following the death of a loved one like a spouse, child, or other important person.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees

In addition to Master’s in Social Work programs with a trauma concentration, there are degree pathways at some colleges and universities that expand the focus. For example, there are MSW programs with dual concentrations in substance abuse or suicide prevention. For anyone looking for a concentration for their MSW program, a specialization in trauma is one to consider.