The newsletter of the
International Trauma Training Institute (ITTI)
Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC, Editor
Jeanne Thomas, MBA, Associate Editor
Spring 2021, Vol. 4, No. 2
ITTI has two new courses coming soon. Keep watching the website for more details and for registration.

Child & Adolescent Anger Management. This frequently requested, 13-CE Hour training was developed by Cheryl Paulhus Ed.D., LPC and Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC and is designed to inform therapists at all levels on this important topic. We are excited about launching this course.
We are also excited about launching Metacompetence in Supervision (also 13 CE Hours). This course was developed and will be taught by Mindi Raggi, Ed.D., LCSW. Clinical Supervision is now a recognized and respected practice specialty. Whether you are a seasoned supervisor or wish to expand your practice to become a supervisor, didactic training is a fundamental requirement. Supervision can be both challenging and rewarding as you serve as a gatekeeper to the profession and have the opportunity to significantly impact client services. This course is designed to meet the needs of most clinicians.
On May 25th, we will present the 4th in our Trauma Road Map Series of webinars entitled Civilian Clinicians Counseling Military Veterans by Dr. Harry Morgan. This should be a stimulating and informative hour for all clinicians.

If you are a member of the American Counseling Association, please consider supporting the formation of an ACA organizational affiliate – The International Association for Resilience and Trauma Counseling (IARTC). (See Becoming a Founding Member below.)

Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC
Trauma Road Map Series

This is the 4th live webinar in our series. Each brings a different aspect to treatment and understanding of trauma. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, you can view it later.

Harry Morgan, Ph.D., LMHC, USAR (Ret).

May 25, 1pm EST
Fee $25

1 CE Hour earned on verification of timed attendance


Keeping you up to date with all your Continuing Education needs.

You are a licensed psychologist, social worker, mental health counselor, or marriage and family therapist; you’re skilled in treating trauma patients, depression, anger management, and suicidality. You have offered counseling for bereavement, employment, and readjustment. You’ve successfully treated those struggling with substance abuse. You have experience in marriage and family therapy. These are all issues today’s military veterans and their families face.
This Webinar will introduce you to why you, as a civilian clinician, are urgently needed. You will also discover the uniqueness of military culture and learn the requirements for becoming a civilian clinician counseling military veterans.
You can become a TRICARE provider and use your professional training, expertise, and skills in serving those who have served us. This Webinar, however, will not qualify you to be a TRICARE provider or a VA referral.

International Association for Resilience & Trauma Counseling
A message from Carol Smith, Ph.D. & Peggy Mayfield, Ph.D.

A group of hopeful people are creating a new professional home for those who work therapeutically with people emerging from trauma. The International Association for Resilience and Trauma Counseling (IARTC) seeks to gather and disseminate our collective wisdom, which both acknowledges trauma and builds resilience capacity. Our goal is to help individuals and communities worldwide. We looking to garner support as we encourage one another, foster emerging leaders, publish extensively, hold conferences, provide trainings, advocate for trauma-informed public policy, and learn approaches from around the world.

Ultimately, we seek to help human beings not only overcome the sometimes very bad things that can happen in the world (e.g., trauma, terrorism, pandemics, political upheaval, racism, social injustice, etc. etc. etc.) but also build resilience that emerges via healing from trauma.

We can’t do this alone. We need like-minded people to come along with us. We have submitted an application to the American Counseling Association for Organizational Affiliate status. We are currently looking for charter members of IARTC. Because we will be partnering with the American Counseling Association, we are particularly welcoming to current ACA members who believe IARTC would be a good fit for their professional identity and journey. If you want to read more about our values, check out our website: If you think this is something that fits with your future plans, please consider joining IARTC:

Right now, there is no cost to join IARTC. The time will come when we may assess dues in order to continue providing valuable services to our members. We believe we are offering a unique opportunity to be a part of an emerging and dynamic organization. We look forward to working with you as we learn and grow.
Digital Online Training Mentoring Learning Education Browsing Concept
beginning on
May 17, 2021

To see course descriptions and to register, click this link:


Understanding and Coping
with COVID Malaise
Susan Foster
Arron is a middle-aged man who worked in the private finance sector. Before COVID-19, his job required that he spend long hours away from his partner and children during the work week. His partner worked part-time in the local school district as a paraprofessional and took the lead in parenting because of the demands of his work. By all accounts, Arron enjoyed his lifestyle. And then, COVID-19 hit. Because of his location in a hotspot, Arron and his family, like many others, began many months of phased lockdowns that give and take away the hope and promise of brighter days. Like so many others, Arron found himself struggling with feelings of isolation, tiredness, and of being weary. Through the chaos, Arron began to experience malaise. Why and now what? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many dimensions of life. To begin, the pandemic has created uncertainty about survival. Ultimately, the need for survival has been compromised (Maslow, 1943). COVID-19 has created a new normal. With the inability to control the spread of the virus, pervasive lockdowns, social distancing, remote work and schooling, and other changes to daily scheduling, the pandemic has delivered unpredictable, unprecedented, and large doses of personal and professional changes, stresses, and uncertainties. In the wake of COVID-19, people, such as Arron, are experiencing the perpetual fog of malaise. In general, sources of malaise--a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness--can be hard to identify and is compounded by stress, hallmarked by physical concerns and novel emotional dysregulation, negative affect and emotional vulnerability, all caused by the chaos of the pandemic.

Understanding Malaise through the Lens of Chaos Theory
Within the Chaos Theory framework, the emphasis is on how self-organization mechanisms within complex systems constantly change, reorganize, and progress over time (Ciuluvica, Amerio, & Grossu, 2020). Specifically, the evolution of change is spontaneous and covert, moving from a state of chaos to a state that appears to be qualitatively stable. Thus, continuous feedback loops are created amongst and between systems, requiring little to no awareness of the relationships that exist between the components of the system. While very few systems are more complex than human beings, human beings interacting within their environment amplifies the complexity. Enter COVID-19 into an already complex interaction. Is it any surprise that people are tired in ways that are unfamiliar? From the lens of Chaos Theory, the world’s interaction with the fear, ambiguity, and saturation of COVID-19 has created the opportunity for systems to be taxed and in search of homeostasis, leading to loops and pathways culminating in stable and deterministic, yet faulty coping and malaise.

Feedback Loops and COVID-19
Dealing with COVID-19 has forced everyone to make changes and deal with stress.  Routines and normalcy have been disrupted. Though expected as a reaction to an abnormal situation, and whether positive, negative, or ambiguous, stress has a cumulative emotional and physical effect on the body. When the sources of stress are tangible, one can depend on clear and rehearsed methods to reduce or neutralize the trigger. The brain knows what to do next. With COVID-19, however, the threat is persistent and less than obvious making the symptoms difficult to identify and alleviate (Blustein & Guarino, 2020). With no end in sight, the stress remains, and the body’s response (fight, flight, or freeze) must be sustained longer, thus making way for malaise. 

The weight of the pandemic is heavy and chaotic, creating a dampened ability to respond. Coping with stress and malaise can best be summed up by considering hippocampal activity. Within the brain, the hippocampus acts as an organizational map, storing old memories, making comparisons to new memories, predicting which of them are safe or not safe, and how to adapt (Jeffery, 2018).  Though the stimulus cannot necessarily be changed nor seen, with adaptation, the response to the heaviness of COVID-19 can be altered. 

Reauthoring Coping Skills amidst COVID-19
Ultimately, COVID-19 has disrupted thinking, experiencing, relating, and behaving, creating urgency and opportunity. Though no one can predict how or when the pandemic will end, the mindful and experiential reauthoring of coping skills can reset the feedback loops surrounding living as opposed to existing, freedom over determination, and meaning instead of despair in an effort to quell malaise that Arron and so many others are experiencing.
Awareness, Acceptance and Permission. The pandemic can rouse a mix of reactions. Experientially and routinely acknowledging the emotional and physical changes that are being experienced allows for proper intervention. For instance, by accurately and congruent naming and allowing feelings, one can begin protecting their mental health by engaging in behavior activation. 
Deletion of the “Doomsurfing.” An overabundance of information can be crippling and binding. In a year with social, economic, and political unrest, related and unrelated to the pandemic, social media has become a mainstay for news, information, and public opinion. Doomsurfing involves actively scrolling through such media, potentially resulting in negative thoughts and mindsets. Habitually disconnecting from social media can provide much needed neural resets, alleviating the ambiguous stress that accompanies the flooding of fractured information sharing. 

Activation of Choice. COVID-19 has created disruptions of routine. Inventorying and reauthoring of important, lost or compromised routines allows for restorative behavioral activation. This includes the prioritization and choice of activities, such as exercise, reading, volunteering, walking in nature, cooking, zooming with family and friends, etc. 
Gratitude. Much like acceptance, the meaningful practice of giving gratitude develops a sustained sense of well-being (Lin, 2017). Gratitude begins with the ability to intentionally observe one’s surroundings with intentional appreciation. This practice can include feeling of gratitude towards other people, a sense of connection to nature, beauty or life, a focus on what one has, reframing adversity and hardships as blessings, and cherishing individual moments (Lin).
Blustein, D. L., & Guarino, P. A. (2020). Work and unemployment in the time of COVID-19: The existential experience of loss and fear. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 60(5), 702–709.

About the Author
SUSAN FOSTER, PhD, LPC-S, NCC, ACS, BC-TMH, CCTP is the Department Chair for the Counselor Education Department (Online) at The Chicago School. Dr. Foster has been with the Chicago School for approximately four years, most recently she served as the Director of Clinical Training for the department. She has taught on-ground and virtually for a decade. She holds a doctorate in Counselor Education, a master’s degree in Counselor Education, a master’s degree in Legal Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Dr. Foster has counseled and/or supervised in a variety of settings, including higher education, K-12 education, community mental health, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and private practice. Her current research interests include technology assisted supervision, complex trauma, grief, family systems, creativity in counseling, existentialism, consultation and collaboration, collective self-esteem in diverse populations, professional identity of counselors, diagnosis, assessment metrics for counselor educator programs, and ethics and law in counseling and supervision. 


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