Clinicians' perspectives on cognitive-behavioral treatment for PTSD among persons with severe mental illness

B. Christopher Frueh, Karen J. Cusack, Anouk L. Grubaugh, Julie A. Sauvageot, Christopher Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Objective: As an intermediate step in the development of a cognitive-behavioral posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment program for persons with severe mental illness, a focus group gathered feedback from clinicians and clinical supervisors within a public-sector mental health system. Methods: Five qualitative focus group discussions were held with 33 clinicians and clinical supervisors within a state-funded community mental health center system. Results: Clinicians perceived trauma to be a significant adverse factor in the lives of their mental health services consumers, were reluctant to address trauma with them, and yet believed that cognitive-behavioral treatments for PTSD may be effective and appropriate for them. Clinicians also offered practical suggestions to improve the feasibility and acceptability of the proposed cognitive-behavioral treatment program. Examples include creating gender-specific treatment groups; ensuring that trust and rapport with, clients are established before the discussion of traumatic experiences; developing careful safety precautions for clients, especially for the exposure therapy component; preparing for the possibility that some consumers will lack the cognitive ability to understand treatment; and collaborating with other, care providers to ensure optimal integration with other aspects of care and minimize clinic disruptions. Conclusions: These findings provide information relevant to the development and implementation of PTSD interventions for patients with severe mental illness treated in public-sector settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1031
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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