The International Association of Trauma Counselors (IATC) was created in 1987 as an organization dedicated to excellence in training, education, and experience. The founding leadership of IATC included Vietnam veterans, firefighters, emergency workers, psychologists, public safety officers, nurses, and crime victim assistance providers. They all recognized the critical need for special training, experience and education required by trauma victims and survivors, and that these resources were often very limited and frequently non-existent.
IATC leadership was determined to ensure that victims traumatic events received the most compassionate, appropriate, and effective care as possible. To reach this goal, IATC developed standards of service, education, and recognition
to for individuals who provided such critical care to victims and survivors of traumatic events. The Association changed its name from IATC to the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists in 1992 by vote of the membership at a national conference held in Charleston, SC.