Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 119–131 | Cite as

Dealing with Complexity and Comorbidity: Opportunity for Transdiagnostic Treatment for PTSD

  • Cassidy A. GutnerEmail author
  • Candice Presseau
PTSD (S Creech and L Sippel, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on PTSD


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.

Recent findings

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.


Transdiagnostic 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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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences DivisionBostonUSA
  3. 3.James J. Peters VA Medical CenterNew York CityUSA

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