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Trauma-focused cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) are efficacious treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but few studies have directly compared them using well-powered designs and few have investigated response patterns.
To compare the efficacy and response pattern of a trauma-focused CBT modality, brief eclectic psychotherapy for PTSD, with EMDR (trial registration: ISRCTN64872147).
Out-patients with PTSD were randomly assigned to brief eclectic psychotherapy (n = 70) or EMDR (n = 70) and assessed at all sessions on self-reported PTSD (Impact of Event Scale – Revised). Other outcomes were clinician-rated PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Both treatments were equally effective in reducing PTSD symptom severity, but the response pattern indicated that EMDR led to a significantly sharper decline in PTSD symptoms than brief eclectic psychotherapy, with similar drop-out rates (EMDR: n = 20 (29%), brief eclectic psychotherapy: n = 25 (36%)). Other outcome measures confirmed this pattern of results.
Although both treatments are effective, EMDR results in a faster recovery compared with the more gradual improvement with brief eclectic psychotherapy.
The psychosocial effects of terrorist threat and close protection have never been studied systematically in political leaders. We conducted a study among 12 Dutch politicians and their partners who were living under terrorist threat and close protection in the aftermath of two political murders. Interviews revealed that their coping with the situation varied and consisted of emotion-focused, defensive, palliative and instrumental coping strategies. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder occurred in some individuals, and tendencies to express milder or stronger opinions on sensitive issues were reported. Psychosocial knowledge can be useful in helping to cope with the situation in the best possible way.
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