Student Perspectives: Imbuing Evidence-Based Treatment for PTSD with Principles of Posttraumatic Growth
Olivia M. Riffle, MA
February 26, 2020
As both a posttraumatic growth
(PTG) researcher and a clinician delivering evidence-based treatments to military veterans with PTSD, I have often wondered if and how these worlds intersect. Prolonged exposure therapy (PE; Foa, Hembree, Olasov Rothbaum, & Rauch, 2019) and cognitive processing therapy (CPT; Resick, Monson, & Chard, 2017) are two evidence-based protocols (EBPs) at the forefront of PTSD treatment. Although much evidence supports the effectiveness of both treatments, treatment outcome is often defined by symptom reduction, and an opportunity is missed to incorporate PTG-oriented principles that could ultimately benefit the patient. As such, I sought to examine the extent to which PTSD EBPs incorporate PTG at present as well as consider how clinicians might increasingly do so in their execution of the protocols. Here I will review PTG, its current presence in trauma intervention research and the PE and CPT protocols, and possibilities for adaptations that capitalize on a growth mindset for reducing posttraumatic distress and improving adjustment.
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