Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling & Psychology

First Advisor

Adam Meiselman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan Gere, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Meredith Silverstein, Ph.D.



This dissertation explores mental health clinicians’ experiences and self-identified confidence to identify and treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD. PTSD is a highly prevalent mental health condition that impacts an estimated 24.4 million individuals in the United States (PTSD United, 2019). Complex PTSD has just emerged for the first time with official diagnostic criteria in the publication of the ICD-11 in 2019 for use beginning in January 2022 (WHO, 2019). There is very little existing research that considers the experience or confidence of clinicians who work with clients who have PTSD and Complex PTSD, which is troubling given the prevalence rates of these disorders. Nor does research exist that speaks to what it will mean for clinicians to incorporate the new taxonomy for Complex PTSD or the ways in which Complex PTSD differs in identification or treatment approach in comparison to PTSD. Through the analysis of three principal factors, primary clinical focus on trauma, years of experience, and highest level of training, a foundational understanding of the ways these factors influence clinician confidence is presented in this Volume I report of the Meier’s Therapists’ Experiences Survey (M-TES). This exploratory survey research utilizes descriptive statistics, crosstab calculations, and several post hoc tests to begin to unpack the aggregated responses of 217 outpatient mental health clinicians who participated in the first distribution of the M-TES. This study provides an introductory look at factors associated with clinician confidence to identify PTSD and Complex PTSD and differentiate their treatment approach between the two. Recommendations are suggested for follow-up studies that would enhance knowledge specific to improving clinician confidence in identifying and treating PTSD and Complex PTSD. This research identifies needed areas of support for clinicians to identify PTSD and Complex PTSD and differentiate their treatment approach between the two, which would ultimately enhance and improve the treatment outcomes for individuals seeking mental health care for trauma conditions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



Number of Pages