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S23-210 Understanding the Roles of Cognitive Distortions and Defense Mechanism in Processing Trauma

Total Credits: 6 including 6 Category I CEs

200 Adults, Couples & Families
Veronica Cruz, LCSW-C
Course Levels:
7 Hours 30 Minutes



This workshop will be a clinical conversation about the human psyche and the various defense mechanisms used to process and understand complex trauma. Participants will also discuss the process of post-traumatic stress disorder leading to post-traumatic growth. This is an interactive workshop with clinical questions and case examples derived from the film, Life of Pi. The clinical exploration of the film will allow the viewer to understand and define the traumatic journey and growth that the protagonist experiences in this film.

**Please view the film prior to the workshop.**



Veronica Cruz, LCSW-C Related Seminars and Products

Cruz and Associates

Ms. Cruz is a bilingual (Spanish/English) clinical and forensic social worker who has worked with children, adolescents, and families for over eighteen years. Ms. Cruz was employed for ten years as a forensic social worker with the Office of the Public Defender in Montgomery County. In addition, from 2000–2014 she worked as an emergency room and psychiatric social worker. She has extensive experience in inpatient psych and partial hospitalization psych programs. Ms. Cruz specializes in criminal defense mitigation, dual diagnosis, crisis intervention, addiction, trauma, and working with diverse ethnic groups.        

Ms. Cruz is a graduate of the Catholic University of America with a B.A. in psychology and received her Master of Social Work, specializing in mental health and addiction, from the University of Maryland School of School Work. In 2014 she completed an advanced two-year post-graduate Forensic Social Work Certification through the University of Maryland Continuing Education Department. In 2008 she co-created the Forensic Social Work Committee for NASW and in 2010 became the sole chair, a position she maintained until 2016, when she resigned due to other professional obligations. She continues to advocate for legislative changes. Under her leadership, the committee successfully hosted two national forensic social work conferences and advocated for various legislative bills and reform. She maintains various professional memberships and affiliations.        

Ms. Cruz is an Adjunct Professor:       

  • In 2016, Ms. Cruz joined the University of Maryland (Shady Grove) School of Social Work, teaching Advanced Trauma.       

  • In 2015, Ms. Cruz joined the Catholic University of America School of Social Work, teaching Advanced Ethics.  

Agenda & Learning Objectives



Registration/Log on 

09:00 - 10:30 


10:30 - 10:45 


10:45 - 12:00 

Lecture Continued 

12:00 - 1:00 


1:00 - 2:30 

Lecture Continued 

2:30 - 2:45 


2:45 - 4:30 

Lecture Continued 


Questions & Adjournment 



Upon the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Illustrate and articulate the concept of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Post Traumatic Growth, and Toxic Stress   

  • Examine the roles of cognitive distortions and defense mechanisms in processing trauma  

  • Apply participant’s knowledge of utilizing strength-based therapies to change the trauma perspective from victim to survivor  

  • Provided with tools like the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory, Cognitive Distortions, and Mood Logs to help them identify and meet the needs of individuals with complex trauma 

Bibliography & References



Shubina, Ivanna. (2014) Cognitive-behavioral therapy of patients with ptsd: literature review. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences 165 (2015) 208-216

Book: Theories for Direct Social Work Practice, Joseph Walsh

Briere, J. and Scott, C.  (2013). Principles of trauma therapy: A guide to symptoms, evaluation and treatment.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Pubs.

Book: Assessing and Treating Trauma & PTSD, Linda J. Schupp, Ph.D

Ringel S. and Brandell, J.  (2011). Trauma: New directions in theory, research and practice. Ramos, Catarina & Leal, Isabel. Posttraumatic Growth in the Aftermath of Trauma: A literature Review about related factors and application contexts. Psychology, Community and Health, Vol 2 (1), 43-54

Henry, Shannon. (2017) An Exploration of Resilience and Post-traumatic Growth Following Traumatic Death, Social Work Master’s Clinical Research Paper, 753

Rnic, Katerina, et al. (2016) Cognitive Distortions, Humor Styles, and Depression. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 12(3): 348-362.

Kamil Mahdi, Heyder. (2014) Posttraumatic Growth and Resilience after a Prolonger War: A Study in Baghdad, Iraq. International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 197-204

Watkins, Laura et al. (2018) Treating PTSD: A Review of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Interventions, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Volume 12, Article 258

Course Completion & CE Information

Category I Maryland BSWE Requirement

The Office of Continuing Professional Education at the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education programs. This workshop qualifies for 6 Category I Continuing Education Units. The Office of Continuing Professional Education is also authorized by the Maryland Board of Psychologists and the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors to sponsor Category A continuing professional education.

Please refer to the tab "Live Interactive Webinar Policies & FAQs" for UMSSW Office of CPE policies regarding all live interactive webinar related matters.

Target Audience

Social Workers, LCPCs, and Psychologists

All those interested in Topic Welcomed

Late Fees and Refunds

Fee & Registration:

Cost is $130 and includes CE credit. Registering after June 2, 2023 will incur an additional $20 late fee. *Cancellations must be received 24 hours in advance prior to the live interactive webinar to receive a refund or a credit letter.


*All cancellations will be subjected to a $35.00 administration fee

Live Interactive Webinar Platforms




The Office of Continuing Professional Education hosts Live Interactive Webinars through two platforms: Zoom and WebEx.

Both platforms offer high quality and user-friendly webinar platforms for our registrants.


System Requirements:

  • Operating Systems: Windows XP or higher; MacOS 9 or higher; Android 4.0 or higher.
  • Internet Browser: Google Chrome; Firefox 10.0 or higher.

Our system is not compatible with the Safari web browser.

  • Broadband Internet Connection: Cable, High-speed DSL and any other medium that is internet accessible.

**Please have your device charging at all times to ensure that your device does not lose power during the webinar.


Course Interaction Requirements:

To participate in Live Interactive Webinars, you MUST have a device that allows you to view the presentation on screen and hear the instructor at all times. We do not allow participants to call-in from their phones or mobile devices and solely listen to the presentation. Participation in Live Interactive Webinars is mandatory.

Webinar Policies & FAQs

Click The Link to View The Webinar Policies & FAQs