Treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in South Africa: An Integrative Model Grounded in Case-Based Research
Keywords:posttraumatic stress disorder, integration, case studies
The article presents a model for formulating and planning treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in South Africa derived from the existing literature and in conjunction with a review of a series of studies of cases treated using the guidelines of Ehlers and Clark’s cognitive therapy. It is argued that the construction of psychotherapies (or even components of psychotherapy) for PTSD in terms of traditional categories ("psychodynamic", "cognitive-behavioural", "narrative" etc.) is misleading and unhelpful. Instead, superordinate concepts derived from thinking about evidence-based practice provide a more grounded focus on the practical issues faced by therapists treating PTSD. These concepts, which include competences and metcacompetences, therapist responsiveness, stages of therapy and case formulation, provide a basis for a genuinely integrative approach. The proposed model suggests seven broad areas of clinical focus for work with PTSD which can be arranged at three levels of priority: level 1 crisis intervention and stabilization; level 2 promoting engagement with treatment, and level 3 selection, sequencing and timing of active treatment interventions. Material from the case series is used to illustrate the application of the model.
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