Friday, October 21, 2016

Brief CBT Element Encourages Trauma Patients to Seek Psychotherapy

Therapeutic homework assignments derived from cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and delivered in routine care seem helpful in drawing trauma patients into psychotherapy or counseling, as well as reducing PTSD symptoms, said Doyanne Darnell, Ph.D., an acting assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues.

The researchers randomized 115 patients from a hospital trauma center to receive the CBT assignments (n=56) or usual care, Darnell reported in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

Patients also received some psychoeducation about symptoms and posttraumatic recovery, as well as anxiety and stress-reduction techniques. These were brief and could be rendered during routine care in the emergency department, hospital, or in outpatient medical follow-up appointments, or even by telephone.

“The elements were designed to help patients overcome behavioral avoidance patterns consequent to anxious avoidance, withdrawal, or functional impairments related to the injury,” wrote the researchers.

The researchers found that trauma patients who received the intervention were more likely (93%) than usual-care controls (10%) to get psychotherapy or counseling.

Furthermore, the analysis showed “a statistically significant and clinically meaningful association between CBT element homework completion and PTSD symptom reduction for intervention patients.”

Darnell and colleagues concluded that with further study, “readily deliverable CBT elements targeting PTSD and comorbidity” could be incorporated into American College of Surgeons guidelines in acute medical settings, just as universal screening for alcohol use disorder is today.

For more in Psychiatric News about early intervention for trauma victims, see “Early Intervention Offers Hope For Preventing PTSD.”

(Image: iStock/VILevi)


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