Category: PTSD

Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion 14 - The Current State of PTSD Diagnosis: Controversies and Future Directions

Saturday, November 18
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom M & N, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) | Trauma | Diagnosis
Presentation Type: Panel Discussion

Since PTSD was first recognized by the DSM-III in 1980, the field has struggled to reach consensus on how to best classify traumatic stress reactions. Based on evolving knowledge regarding the presentation of psychological trauma, as well as changing societal norms, experts have substantially revised the classification of PTSD over the past 30 years. However, the diagnostic standards for PTSD unveiled in the 2013 DSM-5 continue to produce controversy, potentially obfuscating clinicians’ and researchers’ understanding of how to best classify trauma and PTSD. Decisions on these matters have major implications for the development of assessment and treatment methods, reimbursable services, and compensation claims.

To grapple with these issues, Drs. Edna Foa, Dean Kilpatrick, Brian Marx, Richard McNally, and Patricia Resick, a distinguished panel of experts, will provide insight into the current state of the field of trauma, address major controversies surrounding the diagnosis of PTSD, and generate future directions for researchers and clinicians. First, they will discuss challenges in navigating the continuum of traumatic exposure, including the potential for overly narrow trauma criteria to reduce sensitivity in identifying individuals in need of treatment, as well as the possibility of “conceptual bracket creep in the definition of trauma” (McNally, 2003), in which indirect exposure or daily hassles far distinct from the original concept of trauma are used as grounds for diagnosis. Second, the panelists will address whether nonspecific signs of impairment (e.g., persistent negative affect, sleep disturbance) overlapping highly with other diagnoses ultimately decrease the clinical utility of the PTSD diagnosis. Third, they will comment on the utility of alternative classification systems including complex PTSD (under consideration for ICD-11) for informing our conceptualization of the diagnosis. Across each of these controversies, the panelists will discuss implications for implementing evidence-based treatments for PTSD, including cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure. Audience participation will be encouraged throughout the presentation.

Learning Objectives:

Edna Foa

Professor and Director
University of Pennsylvania. Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety


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Dean Kilpatrick

Medical University of South Carolina


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Brian P. Marx

Principle Investigator
National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Boston Healthcare System


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Richard J. McNally

Harvard University


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Patricia A. Resick

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Duke University School of Medicine


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Molly R. Franz

Doctoral student
University of Nebraska, Lincoln


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Christina Hein

University of Nebraska, Lincoln


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Panel Discussion 14 - The Current State of PTSD Diagnosis: Controversies and Future Directions

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