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Skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation followed by exposure.

15 Aug
Skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation followed by exposure: a phase-based treatment for PTSD related to childhood abuse.
In randomized, controlled, clinical trials at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 58 women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to childhood abuse were randomly assigned to either a two-phase cognitive-behavioral program or a minimal attention wait list. Phase One of the treatment condition included 8 weekly sessions of skills training in regulating mood, emotion and interpersonal skills; Phase 2 included 8 sessions of modified prolonged exposure. Compared with those on the wait list, participants in the treatment condition showed significant improvement in mood regulation, interpersonal skills and PTSD symptoms. These gains were maintained at 3- and 9-month follow-up. Analysis revealed that a strong therapeutic alliance gained in Phase One, and an ability to regulate negative moods were predictors of success in the subsequent exposure phase. The study concludes that it is likely that helping PTSD survivors establish a strong therapeutic relationship and allowing time for learning emotion regulation skills should precede the more daunting challenges of exposure.

Citation: Cloitre M, Koenen KC, Cohen LR, Han H. Skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation followed by exposure: a phase-based treatment for PTSD related to childhood abuse. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. 2002. Oct; 70 (5): pp. 1067-74.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award