September 30, 2009
Joan Cook, Ph.D., of Yale University and colleagues have been awarded funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to evaluate the implementation of two evidence-based psychotherapies for treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. The grant addresses the NIH Challenge Grant topic “Strategies to Support Uptake of Interventions within Clinical Community and Settings.” Strategies for promoting evidence-based PTSD treatments in the military are urgently needed as more and more soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with this disorder. The research team will characterize and assess the implementation of two types of therapy—prolonged exposure (PE) therapy and cognitive processing therapy (CPT)—within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) residential PTSD treatment programs. PE involves helping people confront their fear and feelings about the trauma they experienced in a safe way through mental imagery, writing, or other ways. In CPT, the patient is asked to recount his or her traumatic experience, and a therapist helps the patient redirect inaccurate or destructive thoughts about the experience.