Psychologists, Social Workers, Counselors, MFTs

Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide


Course Description: Psychological First Aid is an evidence-informed modular approach to help children, adolescents, adults, and families in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism. Psychological First Aid is designed to reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning and coping. Principles and techniques of Psychological First Aid meet four basic standards. They are:

  1. Consistent with research evidence on risk and resilience following trauma
  2. Applicable and practical in field settings
  3. Appropriate for developmental levels across the lifespan
  4. Culturally informed and delivered in a flexible manner

Learning Objectives:

  • Analyze information-gathering techniques that help providers make rapid assessments of survivors’ immediate concerns and needs
  • Apply field-tested, evidence-informed strategies that can be provided in a variety of disaster settings
  • Describe developmentally and culturally appropriate interventions for survivors of various ages and backgrounds
  • Analyze handouts that provide important information for youths, adults, and families for use during the course of recovery

Course Components:

  • Online text (included)
  • Multiple choice online exam (included)
  • Electronic certificate of completion (free)

Course Credit(s): 6 CE Credits or Hours

Course Format: Online Text (format of this course is noninteractive)

Course Schedule: Self-paced

Course Author(s): Melissa Brymer, PsyD, PhD, Christopher Layne, PhD, Anne Jacobs, PhD, Robert Pynoos, MD, MPH, Josef Ruzek, PhD, Alan Steinberg, PhD, Eric Vernberg, PhD, and Patricia Watson, PhD

Content Publisher(s): National Child Traumatic Stress Network, National Center for PTSD, and National Alliance on Mental Illness

Course Author(s) Qualifications:

Dr. Brymer is director of terrorism and disaster programs at the UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress and an expert on how children deal with stress following disasters, like, for example, school shootings. Dr. Brymer studies how best to offer psychological assistance in the aftermath of disasters, and the role the center can play in such relief.

Dr. Layne is program director of Education in Evidence-Based Practice at the UCLA/Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, UCLA School of Medicine for 10 years. The UCLA/Duke University National Center is the administrative and leadership hub of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (see, a SAMHSA-funded network of over 70 currently funded mental health treatment centers nationwide.

Dr. Pynoos is co-director of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress funded by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). He is a professor in the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. Pynoos is also the director of the UCLA Trauma Psychiatry Service and the executive director of the UCLA Anxiety Disorders section.

Dr. Ruzek is a clinical psychologist specializing in treatment of post-traumatic stress problems. He currently serves as Director of the Dissemination and Training Division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD. He is coeditor of two editions of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Trauma, and a contributing author for the National Center for PTSD’s Iraq War Clinician Guide. He is also a co-editor of Caring for Veterans with Deployment-Related Stress Disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond, published by the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Vernberg joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1993 as a core faculty member in the newly-established Clinical Child Psychology Program, and is currently a Professor of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science. Dr. Vernberg is the author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters in his area of study.

Dr. Watson is a senior educational specialist for the National Center for PTSD and assistant professor at Dartmouth Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry. Her education includes a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Catholic University, and a postgraduate fellowship in pediatric psychology at Harvard Medical School. 

Course Level: Beginning/Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced

CEmobile, LLC, #1558, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. CEmobile, LLC maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 5/2/2018-5/2/2021. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.
Social workers participating in this course will receive 6 clinical continuing education clock hours.

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