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Preliminary evaluation of phase-oriented and women-focused group therapy in partial inpatients with complex trauma histories

Ingrid Carlier, Marceline deRee, Sanne vanRijn, Wilhelmina van der Spek, Ineke Callewaert, Tineke van Veen, Yanda van Rood


Rationale, aims and objectives: Despite the broad acceptance of the phase-oriented therapy for Type II chronic trauma in clinical practice, there remains very little empirical evidence to support its validity. Moreover, evaluative studies of group psychotherapy for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after chronic trauma remain scarce, especially within the partial inpatient setting. The present study reports the evaluation of phase-oriented group therapy for Type II traumatized female partial inpatients with chronic PTSD. The treatment involved 3 phases: (a) symptom reduction/stabilisation, (b) trauma processing, (c) life integration/rehabilitation. Special attention to women’s mental healthcare needs (e.g., training of skills to increase sense of security, self-esteem, autonomy) was also given.

Methods: In a pilot study with 31 female partial inpatients, pre- and post-treatment measures were compared in our study of PTSD (Self-Rating Inventory for PTSD, SRIP), General Psychopathology (Symptom Checklist 90, SCL-90), coping (Utrecht Coping List, UCL).

Results: At post-treatment, there was a reduction of all PTSD symptom clusters and some general psychopathology (medium to high effect sizes) and an increase of some adaptive coping strategies (low to medium effect sizes). Linear regression analyses showed that the pre-treatment scores of re-experiencing, hyperarousal, total PTSD, agoraphobia and somatic complaints, had a significant predictive influence on outcome.

Conclusions: The positive results of this pilot study support the validity of phase-oriented and women-focused group therapy for Type II traumatized partial inpatients with chronic PTSD. These findings warrant further investigation, using a randomized design with larger sample size and assessments in between the phases and during follow-up. We advance our pilot study as a significant contribution to the person-centered management of complex trauma history

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