Am I eligible for the Stepped trial?
To be eligible for the Stepped trial, we require you to:
- be over 18 years of age
- have been directly or indirectly exposed to a traumatic event at any age (eg assault, motor vehicle accident, child trauma etc)
- have been exposed four or more weeks prior to inclusion in the study
- have met the threshold for PTSD (symptoms include but are not limited to: distressing and unwanted memories, avoiding thoughts, feelings and reminders of the trauma, having strong negative thoughts such as self-blame, and feeling alert, unsafe or having problems with sleep, anger or concentration)
- have access to the internet (therapy is delivered online via web-based camera)
If you are uncertain about being eligible for the trial, please contact us for further information.
What does the Stepped trial involve?
If you choose to take part in the study, you will initially undergo a phone screening to determine your eligibility to participate. Following confirmation of your eligibility, you will be interviewed by a registered or advanced trainee psychologist and you will also be asked to complete questionnaires about your life experiences and symptoms.
The research study uses a randomised design, meaning that participants will be allocated to one of two treatment groups by chance, like flipping a coin. One group will receive Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), which involves receiving one 60-minute session delivered online each week, for up to 18 weeks (if necessary).
The other group will receive the stepped care approach. Therapy involves working through eight weekly topics online each week that teach you skills to help recover from PTSD. You will also have weekly contact with a therapist who will help you get the most out of these topics. This contact is usually 15min each week. If you and your therapist think it is necessary, this can be followed by up to 18 individual therapy sessions of CPT (60min each) delivered online to address any remaining PTSD issues.
After therapy you will participate in three more assessments (interview and completing questionnaires). These assessments will occur immediately after therapy and then at 3- and 6-months after therapy to monitor your progress.
No costs are associated with participating in this trial, nor will you be paid.
What are the benefits?
Although we cannot predict whether you will benefit from the treatment offered to you in this trial, people who have received similar therapies in the past have reported to have gained at least some benefit. It is hoped that the information gathered in this research will help increase understanding of the best ways to offer treatment to individuals who have been traumatised.
Why is the Stepped trial important?
This project is about improving the reach and access of evidence-based treatments. From a public health point of view, the online delivery of stepped care can improve the lives of significantly more PTSD sufferers than offered by current traditional delivery methods. Therefore, the aim of this project is to test the feasibility and effectiveness of a stepped care approach to treating PTSD in adults, using online and telehealth technology.
Who is conducting the Stepped trial?
The study is being conducted by Professor Reg Nixon from Flinders University. It is funded in part by the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University and the Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation.