Individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism are at an increased risk of experiencing trauma, however few therapists are skilled in both trauma and ID/A support. To bridge this gap, psychologists with the ASERT team created the TRAIN program – 12 weeks of self-guided learnings and live webinars to equip therapists across Pennsylvania currently working with the ID/A populations, with the skills to support clients through trauma experiences.

Participants have direct supervision from psychologists with backgrounds in both trauma and ID/A and interactive discussions with fellow participants, as well as receive Continuing Education (CE) credits provided through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) upon completion of the program.

Therapists interested in participating in TRAIN should email for information about availability in upcoming cohorts.


The TRAIN program covers:

  • Trauma-focused mental healthcare
  • Types and prevalence of trauma
  • Disclosures of abuse
  • Ethical principles of reporting abuse
  • Expressions of trauma
  • Assessing trauma and trauma-focused interviews
  • Psychoeducation
  • Trauma response management strategies
  • Trauma processing
  • Resiliency and self-care

TRAIN is a 12 week program that concludes with case consultations with course instructors. The therapists selected to participate in TRAIN will participate in an introductory kickoff event which will introduce participants and instructors, provide an overview of the program and introduce the learning platform that will be used. Participants will then complete three weeks of self-paced learning followed by an interactive discussion session with the group. There will be three sets of the self-paced learning and discussion sessions.

Throughout the self-paced learning weeks, participants will complete readings, work through engaging learning experiences and complete routine assessments. The interactive discussion sessions will be opportunities for deep-dives into the material and conversations around applications of the learning. After the first 12 weeks are complete, cases consultations will begin.

Jessica (Jes) Bonatakis, PsyD (she/her)

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Jessica Bonatakis is a licensed psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health, having joined clinical faculty at Penn State College of Medicine in 2019. She completed her doctoral studies at Adler University, where she received specialized training in Socially Responsible Practice, an approach that builds practitioners for the life pursuit of becoming effective personal and social change agents in the name of social justice. With over a decade of experience prior to joining Penn State in various community settings, Dr. Bonatakis treats trauma responses in youth, families, and young adults as well as severe externalizing behaviors in early childhood. Dr. Bonatakis is an internationally recognized therapist and within-program trainer in the evidence-based practice of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), having received the PCIT International Advocacy and Community Service Award in 2015. Her current interests lie in the service of grassroots movement to build visibility around the importance of trauma-informed, antiracist, affirming approaches to patient care, interactions with colleagues, and community engagement in the spirit of cultivating a community of inclusion, individual and community resiliency, and collective healing.

Michael (Mike) Murray, MD (he/him)

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Our TRAIN team is proud of the program’s success and the impact the program has had on participants and those they support. See below for testimonials for previous TRAIN participants.


“The information I received I could immediately implement with my client.”

– Fall 2021 Participant


“Great information about trauma and recognizing trauma!”

– Fall 2021 Participant


“I was overall very happy with this program.”

– Fall 2021 Participant

Our next cohort is beginning in September of 2022. Therapists interested in being considered, should email