Psychological treatments for PTSD


The UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence Guidelines on PTSD: Based on rigorous meta-analysis, detailed literature review and two public consultations, the national guidelines for the assessment, prevention and treatment of PTSD in the UK will be presented in this symposium on behalf of the Guideline Development Group.

Psychological treatments for PTSD: A systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomised controlled trials of psychological treatment for PTSD was undertaken. Thirty-eight RCTs of psychological treatments for PTSD were identified. Trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TFCBT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) showed clinically important benefits over waitlist/usual care on measures of PTSD. The evidence base for EMDR was not as strong as that for TFCBT, both in terms of the number of RCTs available and the certainty with which clinical benefit was established. There was limited evidence that TFCBT and EMDR were superior to supportive/non-directive treatments, hence it is highly unlikely that their effectiveness is due to non-specific factors such as attention. There was limited evidence for stress management and group CBT but other therapies (supportive/non-directive therapy, psychodynamic therapies and hypnotherapies) that focus on current or past aspects of the patient’s life other than the trauma or general support, did not show clinically important effects on PTSD symptoms. However, this may be due to the limited number of studies available and does not mean that these treatments were shown to be ineffective.






Jonathan Bisson

Original Work Citation

Bisson, J. (2005, November). Psychological treatments for PTSD. Symposium conducted at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 21st Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON



“Psychological treatments for PTSD,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 23, 2020,

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