Treatment of complex PTSD: Results of the ISTSS expert clinician survey on best practices

This study provides a summary of the results of an expert opinion survey initiated by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Complex Trauma Task Force regarding best practices for the treatment of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ratings from a mail-in survey from 25 complex PTSD experts and 25 classic PTSD experts regarding the most appropriate treatment approaches and interventions for complex PTSD were examined for areas of consensus and disagreement. Experts agreed on several aspects of treatment, with 84% endorsing a phase-based or sequenced therapy as the most appropriate treatment approach with interventions tailored to specific symptom sets. First-line interventions matched to specific symptoms included emotion regulation strategies, narration of trauma memory, cognitive restructuring, anxiety and stress management, and interpersonal skills. Meditation and mindfulness interventions were frequently identified as an effective second-line approach for emotional, attentional, and behavioral (e.g., aggression) disturbances. Agreement was not obtained on either the expected course of improvement or on duration of treatment. The survey results provide a strong rationale for conducting research focusing on the relative merits of traditional trauma-focused therapies and sequenced multicomponent approaches applied to different patient populations with a range of symptom profiles. Sustained symptom monitoring during the course of treatment and during extended follow-up would advance knowledge about both the speed and durability of treatment effects

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Cloitre M,Courtois CA,Charuvastra A,Carapezza R,Stolbach BC,Green BL, | 2011
Journal of Traumatic Stress | 24 | 6 | 615-627