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Cognitive therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder following critical illness and intensive care unit admission

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Hannah Murray, Nick Grey, Jennifer Wild, Emma Warnock-Parkes, Alice Kerr, David M. Clark, Anke Ehlers

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000015X
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapist
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
Published1 Jan 2020

King's Authors


Around a quarter of patients treated in intensive care units (ICUs) will develop symptoms of post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Given the dramatic increase in ICU admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians are likely to see a rise in post-ICU PTSD cases in the coming months. Post-ICU PTSD can present various challenges to clinicians, and no clinical guidelines have been published for delivering trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy with this population. In this article, we describe how to use cognitive therapy for PTSD (CT-PTSD), a first line treatment for PTSD recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Using clinical case examples, we outline the key techniques involved in CT-PTSD, and describe their application to treating patients with PTSD following ICU. Key learning aims (1) To recognise PTSD following admissions to intensive care units (ICUs).(2) To understand how the ICU experience can lead to PTSD development.(3) To understand how Ehlers and Clark's (2000) cognitive model of PTSD can be applied to post-ICU PTSD.(4) To be able to apply cognitive therapy for PTSD to patients with post-ICU PTSD.

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