Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology

Trauma Psychology Focus

The clinical area of the psychology department at Northern Illinois University offers a focus in Trauma Psychology for students with strong research and clinical interests in the area of trauma.

The focus area is based on the premise that trauma, broadly defined, is a risk factor in multiple disorders.  Increased understanding of causes and consequences of traumatic stress and related sequelae will enhance the development of intervention strategies to reduce negative effects of trauma exposure.  Consistent with the New Haven trauma competencies (Cook & Newman, 2014), training will target the core competencies of scientific knowledge about trauma, trauma-relevant psychosocial assessment, trauma-relevant psychosocial intervention and trauma-informed professionalism.  Students will receive exposure and training in best practices in assessment and evidence-based treatment modalities in trauma psychology.  Students will also produce original scholarship in trauma psychology.   

Students completing the Trauma Psychology focus have opportunities to conduct research under the supervision of clinical or affiliated faculty.  Faculty research interests include emotional processing, emotion regulation, interpersonal violence, emergency responders, risk and protective factors following trauma exposure, trauma disclosure, posttraumatic stress, and social cognitive models of child physical abuse.  Students pursuing the trauma psychology focus often work on projects at the Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault (for more information, see

Students interested in this focus should apply to the Clinical area and indicate their interest in the Trauma Psychology focus on the application materials.  If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Holly Orcutt at (815) 753-5920 for additional information.

Trauma Psychology faculty and affiliates include:

Faculty/Affiliate Phone Email Focus
David Bridgett (815) 753-0774 Clinical
Julie Crouch (815) 753-7080 CSFVSA
Michelle Lilly (815) 753-4602 Clinical
Holly Orcutt (815) 753-5920 Clinical
Alan Rosenbaum (815) 753-7084 Clinical
David Valentiner (815) 753-7086 Clinical

To have completed the Trauma Psychology focus, students much complete the same requirements as outlined for all clinical students with the following differences:

  1. Students will take the graduate level trauma seminar that will cover history and theories of trauma research and intervention. 
  2. Students will take the graduate level trauma seminar that will cover evidence-based assessment and treatment methods in trauma psychology.
  3. Students will attend Trauma Journal Club and other relevant Brownbag presentations (Anxiety Research Topics (ART), CSFVSA).  
  4. Students will be expected to see trauma assessment and intervention cases in the PSC as part of the Trauma Specialty Team at least one semester during their tenure in the program.