Adapting Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD for People With Disabilities: A Case Study With a U.S. Veteran
Many veterans receiving treatment for PTSD in the VA health care system are also living with a disability and utilize assistive technologies for communication and/or mobility. While evidence-based treatments for PTSD have been disseminated in VA hospitals nationwide, clinicians may have concerns about implementing these treatments with people with disabilities or question how to adapt evidence-based protocols to facilitate successful outcomes. This clinical case study details the treatment of a 48-year-old male U.S. veteran with a diagnosis of military-related PTSD and significant functional and communicative complexities characteristic of locked-in syndrome. The study implemented an adapted protocol of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), a first-line evidence-based psychotherapy for PTSD with unknown application to people with disabilities. CPT protocol structure, length, and delivery was adapted to accommodate the veteran's assistive devices and functional abilities. The veteran experienced a clinically significant reduction in PTSD symptoms over the course of treatment, suggesting successful application of the adapted protocol. In addition to symptom reduction, the veteran reported advances in his ability to tolerate emotional distress while engaged in goal-directed behavior and improved interpersonal functioning. Results suggest that CPT can be adapted and effective in instances where the presence of disability and multiple assistive technologies impact standard treatment implementation. This information is valuable in its potential ability to make evidence-based psychotherapies more accessible and disability-sensitive. Clinical recommendations for using and adapting CPT for people with disabilities are provided.
Miron, LR; Fulton, JJ; Newins, AR; Resick, PA
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