Certificate Program in Trauma Studies

SANDRA L. GREEN, LCSW,  Executive Director

In 1989, Manhattan Institute became one of the first postgraduate institutions to offer specialty training in trauma. The Institute’s Trauma Treatment Center now offers a two-year program leading to a Certificate in Trauma Studies.

This two-year long sequence builds on the success of more than 25 years’ experience educating mental health professionals in the theory and practice of intensive, psychoanalytically-informed psychotherapy with adults who have a history of significant early-life developmental or interpersonal trauma. Readings and class discussion represent the interface of the fields of psychoanalysis and traumatology.

To learn more about the importance of in-depth trauma-specific psychotherapy, read this blog post by executive director Sandra L. Green, LCSW, SEP.

The Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers. 

Requirements for the Certificate:

Classes – Year One:
Students attend 30 hours of seminars imparting foundational knowledge about trauma and its treatment. Each of the ten, 3-hour seminars is devoted to a key topic.  Students are assigned readings drawn from both contemporary psychoanalytic and traumatology literature. Each section is taught by a faculty member expert in the subject matter, affording students exposure to a diversity of clinical and theoretical perspectives.

Classes are held on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.

Classes – Year Two:
Building upon the groundwork of the first-year curriculum, a series of six five-hour seminars elaborates essential issues in-depth.

Classes are held on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Case Consultation Requirement:
Thirty hours of individual consultation are required in each of the two years. Students may choose from a list of approved consultants and arrange meetings at a time that is mutually convenient. Students should work with a different consultant each year.  Please click here for a list of case consultants.

Applicants must be licensed for independent clinical practice. Some experience working with traumatized populations and familiarity with psychoanalytic concepts are expected. Those who are license-eligible may be considered for participation in the didactic portion and may complete the requisite case consultation upon attainment of licensure.

Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD, Laura Barbanel, EdD, Grant Brenner, MD, Valerie Bryant, PhD, Veronica Csillag, LCSW, Phyllis Cohen, PhD, Jay Frankel, PhD, Richard B. Gartner, PhD,  Sandra L. Green, LCSW, Elizabeth Hegeman, PhD, Elizabeth F. Howell, PhD,  Sheldon Itzkowitz, PhD, Jonathan Kurfirst, PhD, Beth Lawrence, LCSW, Eli Zal, LCSW, Stefan R. Zicht, PsyD.

Tuition: $1000.00 per year. Case consultation is $50 per session.
Tuition is due before the first day of classes. Students who withdraw past the first session of the semester are liable for all of the tuition charge for that semester. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice pursuant to a resolution of the Board of Trustees.

Attendance Requirement:
Students are expected to attend the seminars for which they are registered in order to qualify for the Certificate. Missing more than two classes in the first year, and one class in the second year, will result in not receiving credit for that year.  A Certificate cannot be conferred until missed classes are made up. The missed sessions can be made up in a subsequent year, but not after more than two subsequent years.  (Students must request instructor’s permission to audit/make up missed classes.)  All such make ups will be subject to an administrative fee.

Click here for application materials.

Please see below and select Trauma Studies to pay the $50 application fee.

Application fee


Certificate Program in Trauma Studies – 2017-2018 Schedule

Year One Seminars (Saturdays 10:30-1:30)

10/07/17 Sandra Green, LCSW

(Roshashana begins 9/20, Yom Kippur begins 9/29)

10/28/17 Beth Lawrence, LCSW

11/04/17 Elizabeth Howell, PhD

11/18/17 Phylliss Cohen, PhD

12/02/17 Eli Zal, LCSW

1/06/18 Jonathan Kurfirst, PhD

1/27/18 Jay Frankel, PhD

2/10/18 Stefan Zicht, PsyD

3/17/18 Richard B. Gartner, PhD

4/14/18 Valerie Bryant, PhD

Year Two Seminars (Saturdays 10:30-3:30)

10/14/17  Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD

11/11/17 & 11/18/17  Grant Brenner, MD  (11/11 is Veterans Day) 2.5 hours for each Saturday

12/02/17 Sheldon Itzkowitz, PhD

1/27/18 Veronica Csillag, LCSW

2/10/18 Valerie Bryant, PhD & Lorraine Caputo, LCSW

3/17/18 Jonathan Kurfirst, PhD & Beth Lawrence, LCSW





Year One

Introduction to Trauma Treatment
Sandra L. Green, LCSW

Through both readings and class discussion, students will learn to identify, recognize, define, and diagnose psychological trauma. Emphasis is placed on early relational/developmental trauma – usually referred to as complex trauma. Students will learn about the essential psychodynamic and developmental consequences of early life relational trauma. An introduction to a stage-oriented model of trauma therapy will be provided with additional elaboration on the essential elements of conducting trauma-focused psychotherapy.

Dissociation I
Beth Lawrence, LCSW

Through readings, class discussion and case presentation, students will learn: how to define, identify, and work with people with dissociation resulting from trauma.  A focus will be on the high incidence and significance of this condition; a historical review of the concept of dissociation; how childhood trauma, including both relational trauma and the sexual and physical abuse of children, results in dissociation; how unrecognized trauma may emerge during the process of psychotherapy and how to understand and work with this.

Dissociation II
Elizabeth F. Howell, PhD

Some basic information on dissociative process and dissociative structure are covered, including readings form the instructor’s book, The Dissociative Mind.   Learning objectives: be able to describe three of the ways the word “dissociation” is used; be able to describe the concept of “splitting” in terms of attachment and dissociation; be able to articulate the dissociative aspect of projective identification; be able to discuss the concept of dissociative attunement; be able to apply the above concepts with positive clinical effect in practice with traumatized individuals.

Transference and Countertransference
Eli Zal, LCSW

Through both readings and class discussion, students will learn: how to define and identify common transference and countertransference configurations in working with traumatized adults; when to use transference and countertransference data implicitly versus explicitly with the patient; how to understand enactments and how to clinically utilize enacted material to help patients better understand and resolve their trauma histories.

Effects of Early Trauma on Attachment: Theory and Intervention
Phyllis Cohen, PhD

Research documenting the prediction of attachment at one-year from mother-infant interaction patterns at 4-months, and other work on developmental attachment theory will be briefly reviewed. Future cognitive and social development, and the ability to self-regulate, depends on the emotional availability of an adequate caregiver as the child makes meaning and feels known.  How early life trauma is experienced and memory stored in the brain will be discussed. Through readings and case descriptions the impact of early neglect, maltreatment and abuse will be explored with a focus on the application of theory to practice.

Trauma and Attachment
Jonathan Kurfirst, PhD

Through readings, presentation of clinical material and class discussion students will: become familiar with the basic elements of current Attachment Theory; develop an understanding of how Attachment Theory relates to both normative interactional behavior and to the more “symptomatic” behaviors of traumatized individuals; gain a richer understanding of the relational aspects of dissociative processes and their connection to different forms of traumatic attachment; learn how internalized patterns of attachment manifest in treatment situations and how to use the information in these experiences to enhance formulations and the subsequent development of interventions when treating traumatized individuals.

Betrayal Trauma: The Interpersonal Meaning of Sexual Abuse
Richard B. Gartner, PhD

This seminar will focus on the interpersonal aspects of intimate relationship trauma, using the specific example of men sexually abused as boys. The course will address the special issues boys and men face when processing childhood sexual abuse.  Particular attention will be given to the topics of male gender socialization, sexual orientation worries, and myths that interfere with men being open about their histories or even recognizing their sexual betrayal.  Treatment issues and transference/countertransference dilemmas will be addressed.  Teaching methods will include didactic lecture, clinical examples from the instructor’s practice, and discussion of students’ clinical examples.  By the end of the seminar, students will understand prevalence and meaning of boyhood sexual abuse; understand the relational impact of sexual betrayal on boys; understand how masculine gender socialization and concerns about sexual orientation intersect with processing boyhood sexual abuse; and be able to explore transference and countertransference reactions when working with male victims of childhood sexual abuse.

Psychology of the Perpetrator
Stefan R. Zicht, PsyD

Through both readings and intensive class discussion, students in this seminar will consider the psychology of those defined as “Perpetrators” of interpersonally-mediated traumatic events. The seminar will focus on gaining a better sense and understanding of the psychological organization of such persons, especially in terms of the role of dissociation, and will explore the clinical challenges inherent in working with them. In depth discussion of clinical examples will be utilized with an eye towards conceptualizing potential countertransference interferences and pitfalls in working with such individuals.

Identification with the Aggressor
Jay Frankel, PhD

Students will be able to discuss: the concept of identification with the aggressor, including its clinical manifestations; how it results from trauma and is related to other consequences of trauma; how it influences and restricts someone’s subjective experience and interpersonal relationships; how it manifests in the treatment situation, and can be addressed clinically.

Resilience, Recovery, and Beyond
Valerie Bryant, PhD

Students will learn to define and recognize resilience, and to understand its antecedents and development. Students will learn how to work with traumatized individuals to develop resilience, as an antidote to trauma-induced helplessness. Students will learn to differentiate resilience from hardiness or stoicism.

Year Two

The Neurobiology of Trauma
Grant Brenner, MD

Students will be able to convey understanding of basic neurobiology as pertains to clinical work with trauma.Students will be able to educate patients about fundamental aspects of trauma neurobiology as appropriate to augment clinical engagement and response.  Students will develop an understanding of the neurobiology of trauma that will enable them to pursue further study on their own or through additional training.  Students will develop an understanding of several key frameworks for understanding neurobiology as pertains to trauma, and appreciate their clinical and practical significance.

Working with Somatic/Implicit/Nonverbal Aspects of Trauma
Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD, SEP

Through reading, silent guided experiential processes, and discussion of clinical material, students will learn: Wilma Bucci’s Multiple Code Theory as a theoretical model for understanding the somatic/implicit/nonverbal impact of emotional and physical trauma; how to apply Multiple Code Theory in discussing clinical material; how to track somatic responses to clinical case material, thereby enhancing their ability to identify and engage nonverbal aspects in the treatment of trauma.

Dissociative Disorders: Advanced Seminar
Sheldon Itzkowitz, PhD

Some key papers on dissociative process and dissociative structure are covered, including readings from classical psychoanalytic and contemporary relational authors (Ferenczi, Bromberg), involving the phenomena of dissociated self-states. Two chapters from the instructor’s book, Understanding and Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder – one on types of dissociative parts in Dissociative Identity Disorder, and one on dissociative psychodynamics – are also taught. Students will know the difference between dissociation and repression; be able to explain the differences between dissociative process and dissociative structure; be able to explain what Bromberg means by dissociated self-states; be able to explain multiplicity, dissociation, and dissociative multiplicity; increase their capacity for applying the above concepts in clinical practice.

The Intergenerational and Socio-Cultural Transmission of Trauma
Valerie Bryant, PhD and Lorraine Caputo, LCSW


Beyond Impasse: Working with Shame and Narcissistic States
Veronica Csillag, LCSW

This clinical seminar will address narcissistic states, including shame, and the defenses erected against them, that arise in the aftermath of complex trauma. Unattended, these processes may lead to an acute or chronic intrapsychic and interpersonal downward spiral. In treatment, the narcissistic bastion may seem impenetrable and can easily result in impasse and enactment. The concepts of negative therapeutic reaction and malignant narcissism will be introduced and defined. This seminar will provide participants with guidance in addressing the challenging transference/countertransference matrix of such entrenchment, and will present ways of getting beyond these negative constellations.

Open Forum
Beth Lawrence, LCSW; Jonathan Kurfirst, PhD, Eli Zal, LCSW

In this forum, advanced students will have the opportunity to interact with three faculty members. The primary vehicle for this forum is the presentation of actual clinical cases by one or more of the faculty members. Each case exemplifies difficult conditions that commonly occur in the treatment of traumatized individuals. Through in-depth processing of these cases within the forum, candidates’ integration of theory with its practical applications will be enhanced. Students will be encouraged to ask critical questions and to discuss their own clinical experiences as appropriate to the particular themes.  Specific learning objectives include: enhanced ability to experience and identify probable emotional reactions and typical interactional styles that are evidenced within an ongoing treatment; and to appreciate how these reactions comprise information that can be organized theoretically, and subsequently employed by the clinician, to guide interventions in working with traumatized individuals.