Dealing with Complexity and Comorbidity: Opportunity for Transdiagnostic Treatment for PTSD
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Purpose of review
This review synthesizes literature on transdiagnostic treatments for PTSD and trauma-related psychopathology over the last 3 years and discusses their application across diverse contexts.
Global and domestic studies suggest that a transdiagnostic approach has the potential to address many challenges providers encounter when treating traumatized populations. Existing research shows that transdiagnostic approaches (including the Unified Protocol, Common Elements Treatment Approach, and Modular Approach to Therapy for Children) are effective across low- and high-resourced settings, populations, and with comorbid mental health symptoms. Moreover, transdiagnostic approaches offer flexibility in treatment delivery, adaptability across contexts, and parsimonious training to treatment providers. They also provide a standalone alternative for unable or unwilling individuals to engage in traditional single diagnosis trauma-focused treatment, or those presenting with complex presentations that might otherwise require sequential courses of targeted interventions.
The promise of transdiagnostic treatment for trauma populations is strong. Research is needed to examine patient and therapist perceptions of these approaches for optimally addressing PTSD and related symptoms, the extent to which they offer comparable, or perhaps better, outcomes than existing single diagnosis PTSD treatments, and their sustainability over time. Considerations of adaptations to transdiagnostic treatment manuals across settings are also needed.
KeywordsTransdiagnostic treatment PTSD Trauma Unified Protocol MATCH CETA
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Candice Presseau declares no conflict of interest.
Cassidy A. Gutner received a grant with the National Institute of Mental Health.
Human and animal rights and informed consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
References and Recommended Reading
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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