Step 2 Professional Development

Step 2 Professional Development

Crisis Response Education and Resources Program

Steps for Getting Started
STEP 2 - Professional Development -

The purpose of this section is to support the professional development of mental health crisis responders and encourage CAMFT members interested in crisis response and disaster mental health to join the CAMFT Community Crisis Response Professional Development Group, access the CAMFT EBSCOhost service, join one or more professional organizations, consider certification in crisis response, and become familiar with crisis response ethical issues.


CAMFT Community Crisis Response Professional Development Group

CAMFT members are urged to join the CAMFT Community Crisis Response Professional Development Group to communicate with other likeminded members and receive training announcements and information notices. Both CAMFT members and non-members can access additional professional development information and training opportunities in the RESOURCES section.

Members of the Crisis Response Professional Development Group exchange information for application at the local, state, and national levels. Beginners will get tips for getting prepared for incidents and how to become engaged locally. Veteran responders can share their experience, answer questions, recount lessons learned, and promote self-care.

At the CAMFT Community webpage you will find a Step-by-step Guide and an Activity Guide to familiarize yourself with the CAMFT Community. You will be able to find community members quickly, join the Crisis Response Professional Development Group and other groups of interest, discuss topics in Forums, and use the Library to find documents, share tools, and gain valuable resources.





CAMFT members have unlimited, 24/7 access to EBSCOhost’s Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. ™ This Collection is a database of almost 600 journals devoted to the fields of psychology and the behavioral sciences. Using this service, you can search, view, and print full-text articles, not just the summaries or abstracts. CAMFT members are urged to conduct searches in areas of interest, but especially for crisis response research findings. Access to EBSCOhost Publishing Databases is permitted to authorized users. CAMFT member login and password is required. Read more.


Crisis Response Professional Organizations

Here is a listing of recognized professional organizations that support professional development in crisis response and disaster metal health and provide mental health intervention service to individuals and communities. You are invited to join one or more of these organizations to support your professional development in this field.


American Academay of ExpertsAmerican Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AATSS) collaborates with the National Center for Crisis Management to increase awareness of effects of traumatic events and crisis situations on human functioning, enable professionals to look beyond physical and safety needs and also address emergent psychological needs, improve the quality of support and intervention, establish meaningful standards among professionals across disciplines, provide information and training, and to assist victims to become survivors and then thrivers.



Association of Traumatic Stress SpecialistsAssociation of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS)  organizes, educates and professionally certifies its worldwide membership in order to assist those affected by trauma. ATSS provides and promotes opportunities for training and education in the field of traumatic stress, and professionally recognizes evidence of service, education and experience by those individuals engaged in trauma treatment, services and response.



icisf International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. (ICISF) provides leadership, education, training, consultation, and support services in comprehensive crisis intervention and disaster behavioral health services to the emergency response professions, other organizations, and communities worldwide.



Green Cross Get CertifiedGet Certified — Green Cross Academy of Traumatology  
To become officially certified with us, you must apply to the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology for membership, indicating the certifications you wish to achieve, and evidence that you have completed certification requirements. Submit your membership application, resume, and certification requirement pieces to



NOVANational Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) was founded in 1975 and is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The values of NOVA are Compassion: We care about and respond to the plight of people and one another, Accountability: Excellence in our work and justice in our cause means we honor our commitments, Collaboration: Teamwork at every level is crucial to the work we do, and Passion: We are driven by the hope that what we do makes a difference.


Crisis Response Certification

Here is a listing of recognized professional organizations that offer certifications. Most organizations certify a level of training but avoid endorsing a level of expertise in the field of crisis response or disaster mental health.



American Academay of ExpertsNational Center for Crisis Management and the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress collaborate with the Traumatology Institute and the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology to offer education, training and certification in Crisis Management and Traumatic Stress Specialties.




Association of Traumatic Stress SpecialistsAssociation of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS) offers members an opportunity to gain professional recognition (certification) within a trauma specialty in any of the following three (3) recognized certifications:

  • The Certified Trauma Responder (CTR) for those who provide immediate trauma intervention through critical incident stress response, debriefing, crisis and disaster management, peer counseling, disaster and trauma response, group crisis intervention, first response interventions and follow up, etc.
  • The Certified Trauma Services Specialist (CTSS) for those who provide immediate trauma intervention, crisis support, advocacy, crisis intervention, death notification, victim/survivor assistance and services for a variety of traumatized populations. This designation also recognizes treatment specialists who focus on more short-term treatment and interventions.
  • The Certified Trauma Specialist (CTS) is a designation for counselors, clinicians, and treatment specialists who provide longer-term individual, group, and/or family counseling, therapy, or support for trauma survivors either as a specialty or within their practice.



icisf International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. (ICISF) offers a Certificate of Specialized Training (COST) in Critical Incident Stress Management to document the completion of a standardized curriculum in crisis intervention. There are currently seven specific, not mutually exclusive, Certificates of Specialized Training that may be awarded upon provision of appropriate documentation showing completion of the required courses:

  1. Emergency Services
  2. Healthcare Crisis Management and Staff Support
  3. Mass Disasters and Terrorism
  4. Schools and Children Crisis Response
  5. Spiritual Care in Crisis Intervention
  6. Substance Abuse Crisis Response
  7. Workplace & Industrial Applications.

The Certificate of Specialized Training attests to the completion of a standardized curriculum in Crisis Intervention. See COST Program Overview.



Green Cross  Green Cross Academy of Traumatology (GCAT) sanctions four certifications to qualified professionals and accredits programs teaching approved courses leading to certification. With certification comes membership in the Academy and an opportunity to become part of the Green Cross Assistance Program to respond to traumatic events. All members are expected to abide by the high Standards of Practice for Traumatologists and the high Standards of Self Care for Traumatologists. These Standards are part of each of the Academy's Certifications.

  • Compassion Fatigue Educator (CFE) Certification is earned by those who complete the Compassion Fatigue Educator course of training or equivalent training and experiences associated with the theory and research, assessment, and prevention of work-related compassion fatigue. The certification is for those who are primarily interested in teaching and guiding colleagues about self-care, developing and managing a self-care plan, and effective compassion fatigue stress management.
  • Compassion Fatigue Therapist (CFT) Certification is earned by those who complete the Compassion Fatigue Educator Certification and a program of study covering the assessment and treatment of secondary traumatic stress reactions (PTSD), the MASTERS transformative process, and the competencies for designing a compassion fatigue prevention program in a given work context.
  • Certified Traumatologist (CT) Certification is earned by those who complete the Field Traumatologist Certification and a program of study covering three other areas of competence: Assessment and Diagnosis, Treatment Competency, Contextual Applications, and Self Care, in addition to clinical experience.
  • Field Traumatologist (FT) Certification is earned by those who complete the Field Traumatologist course of training or equivalent training and experiences associated with crisis intervention, working with Incident Command structures, and other knowledge to prepare them to work with survivors of disasters -- both human and natural.



 NOVANational Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) Crisis Responder Credentialing Program (NCRCP) is designed to promote continuing skill development, education and experience for trained crisis responders through NOVA’s Crisis Response Training. The NCRCP is voluntary and open to any individuals who provide crisis response services in the aftermath of a traumatic event. The intent is to promote continued training, development, and skill-building in this field. Credentialing in the field of crisis response is valuable because:

  • It promotes best practices in this area of psychological first aid
  • It enhances recognition and credibility in crisis response arena
  • It facilitates continuing skill-building development and education
  • It reinforces a network of crisis responders, which can provide mutual aid
  • NCRCP, as a voluntary, national credentialing body for Crisis Responders and providers of crisis response services, makes every effort to ensure that Applicants meet the minimum standards for the Crisis Responder credential.



Crisis Response Ethical Considerations

The California Mental-behavioral Health Disaster Framework contains five Core Competencies essential for effective disaster mental health services. The five competencies are based upon adherence to performance within one’s scope of practice (e.g., functional role; knowledge, skill, authority; continuing education; ethics; confidentiality, licensure, certification) with respect to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and/or at the population level. To be competent, disaster mental health providers must:

  1. Understand key terms and concepts related to disaster mental/psychosocial/behavioral health preparedness and response,
  2. Communicate effectively,
  3. Assess the need for and type of intervention (if any),
  4. Formulate and implement an action plan, and
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of peer-care and self-care techniques.

The Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists (ATSS) Code of Ethics is a framework to guide the actions of its members. It consists of a mission statement, declaration of values, list of basic principles and standards of practice, and several commitments to superior quality of service.

Ethics for Traumatologists: A Course for Clinicians, Responders, Researchers, Educators and Consultants in the Trauma Field is offered by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. It is a two-day course intended to help persons working in all areas of the field of trauma to formulate their own working ethical principles, within frameworks of appropriate codes, standards of practice and competence, and principles of intervention. Using a workbook approach, participants will have the opportunity to discuss issues, develop mission statements, and examine their own personal/professional value systems and standards.

Green Cross Academy of Traumatology (GCAT): The purpose of the Standards of Care Guidelines is to first, do no harm to yourself in the line of duty when helping/treating others. Second, attend to your physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs as a way of ensuring high quality services to those who look to you for support as a human being.

The George Washington University Global Mental Health Program conducted a workshop on resilience during a visit to the refugee camps in Greece in 2016. A structured discussion reviewed the Hippocratic Oath and its potential application to the work with refugees, resulting in The Hippocratic Oath for Humanitarian Aid Workers.

Now that you’ve considered your professional development, you’re ready to obtain the required training for federal deployment by selecting STEP 3 – FEMA Emergency Management Institute.