Rethinking the effectiveness of trauma-focused psychological treatments for PTSD

Published:January 11, 2024


Trauma-focused psychological treatment—notably trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing—are considered first-line treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Historically, research has focused on PTSD following exposure to single traumatic events, creating a gap in our understanding of how these treatments apply to individuals with a history of exposure to multiple traumatic events. This gap highlights the necessity for a more nuanced exploration of the effectiveness of trauma-focused interventions across diverse trauma histories, which is a consideration gaining recognition in contemporary discussions on PTSD treatment strategies. Given the commonly observed comorbid conditions and more severe presentations of PTSD after exposure to multiple traumatic events, 

clinicians often approach trauma-focused interventions cautiously, wary of concerns about potential symptom exacerbation.