Trauma-Informed Supervision - APA 2020

In this skills building session, the presenters, who range from seasoned supervisors to trainees, aim to provide real world examples and experiential exercises to increase practical skills in implementing trauma-informed supervision, including developing benchmarks to assess trainee and supervisor competencies in this area. Additionally, because core competencies for providing supervisory support against secondary trauma have not been formally delineated within the trauma field (NCTSN, 2018), suggestions will be offered to help supervisors foster resilience against negative sequelae related to treating trauma, such as burnout, vicarious trauma, or secondary traumatic stress, which are known risks of providing mental health treatment to trauma survivors, particularly among trainees (Voss Horrell, 2011).

Presented by:

Elisabeth “Lisa” Carlin, Ph.D.

Eva Chiriboga, Psy.D.

Melissa Decker, Ph.D.

Lea Didion, Psy.D.

Learning Objectives:

Research and Practice, 42, 1-79. doi:10.1037/a0022297

8. Three learning objectives:
1: Discuss how trauma-informed supervision differs from other models of supervision; utilize benchmarks for trauma competencies in evaluation of supervisor and supervisee competency.

2: Critically evaluate current supervision practices and adapt them to integrate trauma-informed practices.

3: Consider supervisory techniques that mitigate vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout among trainees.


Drs. Carlin and Didion are staff psychologists at the Washington, DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DC VAMC), and Drs. Chiriboga and Decker are PTSD fellows at the DC VAMC. All have a passion for trauma treatment, education, outreach, supervision, and research and are committed to furthering the understanding and implementation of trauma-informed care and training, particularly to reach underserved and historically marginalized groups and individuals.


• American Psychological Association. (2015a). Guidelines on Trauma Competencies for Education and
Training. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/ed/resources/trauma-competencies-training.pdf

• American Psychological Association. (2015b). Guidelines for clinical supervision in health service
psychology. American Psychologist, 70, 33-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038112

• Berger, R., & Quiros, L. (2014). Supervision for trauma-informed practice. Traumatology, 20(4), 296.

• Cook, J. M., & Newman, E. (2014). A consensus statement on trauma mental health: The New Haven
Competency Conference process and major findings. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice,
and Policy, 6, 300-307.

• National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2018). Using the secondary traumatic stress core competencies
in trauma-informed supervision [Fact Sheet]. Retrieved from
• Voss Horrell, S. C., Holohan, D. R., Didion, L. M., & Vance, G. T. (2011). Treating traumatized OEF/OIF
Veterans: How does trauma treatment affect the clinician? Professional Psychology: Research and
Practice, 42, 1-79. doi:10.1037/a0022297
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