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Clinical Trial
, 162 (1), 181-3

A Pilot Study of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Clinical Trial

A Pilot Study of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Kathryn L Bleiberg et al. Am J Psychiatry.


Objective: This article describes pilot testing of interpersonal psychotherapy adapted for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unlike most psychotherapies for PTSD, interpersonal psychotherapy is not exposure-based, focusing instead on interpersonal sequelae of trauma.

Method: Fourteen consecutively enrolled subjects with chronic PTSD (DSM-IV) from various traumas received an open, 14-week interpersonal psychotherapy trial.

Results: Treatment was well tolerated: 13 subjects (93%) completed therapy. After 14 weeks, 12 of 14 subjects no longer met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, 69% responded (50% Clinician Administered PTSD Scale score decrement), and 36% remitted (score < or =20). Thirteen subjects reported declines in PTSD symptoms across all three symptom clusters. Depressive symptoms, anger reactions, and interpersonal functioning also improved.

Conclusions: Treating interpersonal sequelae of PTSD appears to improve other symptom clusters. Interpersonal psychotherapy may be an efficacious alternative for patients who refuse repeated exposure to past trauma. This represents an exciting extension of interpersonal psychotherapy to an anxiety disorder.

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