Clinical Guidance: Intensive Cognitive Therapy Speeds PTSD Response
Standard once-weekly cognitive therapy and 7-day intensive cognitive therapy are both effective in reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but intensive treatment does so faster. Three weeks after the beginning of treatment, Ehlers et al. (p. 294) found lower levels of PTSD symptoms in patients receiving intensive therapy, and outcomes were similar at 14 weeks. No patients dropped out of intensive treatment, and few discontinued standard cognitive therapy. A comparison treatment, emotion-focused supportive therapy, reduced symptoms more than a waiting list control condition but not as much as the two cognitive therapies. The rates of recovery at 14 weeks were 73% and 77% for intensive and standard cognitive therapy, respectively, 43% for supportive therapy, and 7% for the waiting list. Editorialist Cloitre (p. 249) highlights the potential for more personalized treatment of PTSD: intensive cognitive therapy could increase some patients’ involvement in treatment, and supportive therapy might engage patients who do not want trauma-focused treatment.