Thursday, November 24, 2016

Active-duty military find PTSD relief through individual cognitive therapy

Public Release: 23-Nov-2016
Active-duty military find PTSD relief through individual cognitive therapy
One-on-one therapy eliminated PTSD diagnoses for almost half of trial participants
Duke University Medical Center

Although both group and individual therapy can ease post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in active-duty military service members, individual therapy relieved PTSD symptoms better and quicker, according to a study led by a Duke University School of Medicine researcher.


"For some of the participants, you can see a change just by looking at them -- as though they have been unburdened," said Patricia Resick, Ph.D., the study's lead author, who developed CPT in the 1980s for victims of rape and other interpersonal trauma and is now a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine.

"Some people think you have to go to therapy for years to address PTSD, but in this large-scale clinical trial with CPT, we saw a large percentage of patients show significant improvements and even recover from PTSD in a matter of weeks," Resick said.

CPT examines how an individual thinks about a traumatic event and how that affects their emotions, Resick said.

"We look at what people have been saying to themselves about the trauma, which in people with PTSD can be distorted," Resick said. "Many of them think there's something they could have done differently to prevent the trauma. We teach them how to examine their thoughts and feel their natural emotions instead of feelings, such as guilt or blame that may result from distorted thinking. We go back and look at the evidence. Once they think in a more balanced, factual way, their emotions and symptoms of PTSD subside."


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