Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Does Writing Help Overcoming Traumatic Stress?

A randomized controlled trial performed by researchers of the University of Amsterdam evaluates writing therapy in posttraumatic stress disorder in the March issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Writing assignments have shown promising results in treating traumatic symptomatology. Yet no studies have compared their efficacy to the current treatment of choice, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

This study evaluated the efficacy of structured writing therapy (SWT) and CBT as compared to a waitlist control condition in treating acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A randomized controlled trial was conducted at an outpatient clinic. Participants (n = 125): (a) satisfied DSM-IV criteria for ASD or PTSD, (b) were 16 years or older, (c) were sufficiently fluent in Dutch or English, (d) had no psychiatric problems except ASD or PTSD that would hinder participation or required alternative clinical care, and (e) received no concurrent psychotherapy.

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