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Implementation of cognitive therapy for PTSD in routine clinical care: effectiveness and moderators of outcome in a consecutive sample

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-752
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume51
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

King's Authors

Abstract

Objective
Trauma-focused psychological treatments are recommended as first-line treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but clinicians may be concerned that the good outcomes observed in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) may not generalize to the wide range of traumas and presentations seen in clinical practice. This study investigated whether Cognitive Therapy for PTSD (CT-PTSD) can be effectively implemented into a UK National Health Service Outpatient Clinic serving a defined ethnically mixed urban catchment area.

Method
A consecutive sample of 330 patients with PTSD (age 17–83) following a wide range of traumas were treated by 34 therapists, who received training and supervision in CT-PTSD. Pre and post treatment data (PTSD symptoms, anxiety, depression) were collected for all patients, including dropouts. Hierarchical linear modeling investigated candidate moderators of outcome and therapist effects.

Results
CT-PTSD was well tolerated and led to very large improvement in PTSD symptoms, depression and anxiety. The majority of patients showed reliable improvement/clinically significant change: intent-to-treat: 78.8%/57.3%; completer: 84.5%/65.1%. Dropouts and unreliable attenders had worse outcome. Statistically reliable symptom exacerbation with treatment was observed in only 1.2% of patients. Treatment gains were maintained during follow-up (M = 280 days, n = 220). Few of the selection criteria used in some RCTs, demographic, diagnostic and trauma characteristics moderated treatment outcome, and only social problems and needing treatment for multiple traumas showed unique moderation effects. There were no random effects of therapist on symptom improvement, but therapists who were inexperienced in CT-PTSD had more dropouts than those with greater experience.

Conclusions
The results support the effectiveness of CT-PTSD and suggest that trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy can be successfully implemented in routine clinical services treating patients with a wide range of traumas.

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