The Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies (CTRS) at Divine Mercy University opened in the fall of 2016, offering a training program through Green Cross Academy for Traumatology for students, faculty, alumni and interested community professionals. It is targeted toward certifications as Mental Health First Responders in times of disaster and traumatic situations. Dr. Benjamin Keyes, a faculty member of the School of Counseling at DMU, is leading the formation and development of the CTRS at Divine Mercy University.

As part of the Center, there will be a development of an on-going Response Team of students, alumni, and interested community professionals capable of deploying in times of significant disaster or crisis anywhere in the United States.  The goal is to assist recovery efforts with first responders to prevent compassion fatigue, collaborate in working with survivors in the field, and provide counseling services in the aftermath of disaster or crisis.

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to bring in depth training and certification in aspects of trauma to the students, alumni, and community professionals around Divine Mercy University,” said Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Director of the Center for Trauma and Resiliency Studies. “It is through the certification process that we are able to directly impact those suffering and those in need.”

The CTRS at Divine Mercy University has partnered with the Green Cross Academy for Traumatology to offer certification courses leading to five separate levels of Trauma Certification.  The five certifications are: Compassion Fatigue Educator, Compassion Fatigue Therapist, Field Traumatologist, Certified (Clinical) Traumatologist, and Master Traumatologist.  The courses for the certifications will be offered throughout the year covering all levels of intervention.  The Certified Traumatologist credential is recognized by the Veteran’s Administration (VA), Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Volunteer Organizations Amid Disaster (VOAD), and other response agencies.  The workshops are offered both on-site at the Arlington, VA campus of Divine Mercy University and online through a virtual classroom.

The CTRS will also house research projects looking at the long and short term effects of trauma and effective therapeutic interventions in response to traumatic situations and events.  Traumatic events include natural disasters, man-made crisis and accidents as well as human trafficking, domestic violence, terrorism, refugee displacement, and chronic poverty. Current research projects include a 5 year longitudinal study with survivors of human trafficking utilizing a Christian treatment model for intervention and healing, the effects of trauma training with professionals working with Syrian refugees, and compassion fatigue levels with both short and long term intervention with the population affected by trauma.

“The goal with CTRS is to examine potential resilience in affected populations and to strengthen skills with those professionals providing services to those in need of trauma intervention,” says Dr. Keyes. “We will be organizing a Mental Health Response Team capable of providing intervention for compassion fatigue, field trauma support, and clinical counseling to those affected by a disaster or traumatic event.” The Response Team is visioned as an ongoing program, welcoming new members every year as students and community participants complete trauma trainings and certification levels through the Green Cross Academy for Traumatology. Divine Mercy University is committed to providing the best education available in fields that are of particular relevance in the world today.

For more information on Green Cross Academy for Traumatology, please visit:

Dr. Benjamin Keyes is the Director of Training and Internship for the DMU School of Counseling at Divine Mercy University.