Category: PTSD

Symposium

Intake Sessions on Treatment Engagement: Gearing Up for Trauma-Focused Evidence-Based Psychotherapies

Sunday, November 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom M & N, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Evidence-Based Practice | PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Psychotherapy Process
Presentation Type: Symposium

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) widely endorses trauma-focused evidence-based psychotherapies (TF-EBPs) for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While TF-EBPs are effective treatments that can reduce symptoms of PTSD, high dropout rates may limit their impact. The current study compares completion rates from two rounds of program evaluation data of Veterans assigned to individual TF-EBPs in the same VHA Outpatient PTSD Clinic. Data from Round 1, collected in 2012-13, includes 67 Veterans. Round 2 data, gathered in 2015-16, is comprised of 76 Veterans. Prior to collecting Round 2 data, clinic providers revised the intake process for Veterans seeking treatment for PTSD. Changes included providing a detailed overview of treatments offered in the clinic, video links to learn more about TF-EBPs (e.g., Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy), and a homework assignment asking Veterans to rank order their treatment preferences and identify potential barriers to attending regular appointments. Veterans were then asked to bring their homework to a follow-up intake session one week later. Follow-ups were used to further discuss Veterans’ specific goals for treatment and to assess their motivation to begin. Twenty-seven Veterans (35%) in Round 2 successfully completed a TF-EBP, compared to the 11 Veterans (11%) in Round 1. Additionally, 27 (41%) of the Veterans who attended the first session of a TF-EBP in Round 2 completed treatment, compared to 11 Veterans (19%) in Round 1. This increase in TF-EBP completion rate from Rounds 1 to 2 suggests that providing patients with additional information about TF-EBPs, prior to beginning treatment, can help increase treatment buy-in. Additional interactions with intake clinicians may also increase the likelihood that patients will follow through with their treatment goals. Lastly, it is possible that this increase in TF-EBP completion rates could reflect changes in the clinic culture to utilize TF-EBPs as a first line treatment for PTSD. Additional research is needed to further examine whether affording more time and treatment materials to Veterans prior to engaging in TF-EBP treatment enhances completion rates.  

Katharine Smidt

Graduate Psychologist
National Center for PTSD, Behavioral Sciences Division at VA Boston Healthcare System

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Intake Sessions on Treatment Engagement: Gearing Up for Trauma-Focused Evidence-Based Psychotherapies



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