DIAGNOSIS: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
TREATMENT: Present-Centered Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Brief Summary

Present-Centered Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Status: Website under development; update pending.

Please refer to APA's Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment of PTSD.


Present-Centered Therapy is a non-trauma focused treatment for PTSD. The primary mechanisms of change from a present centered perspective are grounded in (a) altering present maladaptive relation patterns/behaviors, (b) providing psycho-education regarding the impact of trauma on the client's life, and (c) teaching the use of problem solving strategies that focus on current issues (Mcdonagh et al., 2005; Classen et al., 2011; Schnurr et al., 2003). The treatment omits the use of exposure and cognitive restructuring techniques.


Key References (in reverse chronological order)

Classen, C., Cavanaugh, C., Kaupp, J., Aggarwal, R., Palesh, O., Koopman, C., Kraemer, H., Spiegel, D. (2011). A Comparison of Trauma-Focused and Present-Focused Group Therapy for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 3(1) 84-93.

McDonagh, A., McHugo, G., Sengupta, A., Demment, C., Schnurr, P., Friedman, M., Ford, M., Mueser, K., Fournier, D., Descamps, M. (2005). Randomized Trial of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Adult Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(3), 515-524.

Schnurr, P., Friedman, M., Foy, D., Shea, T., Hsieh, F., Lavori, P., Glynn, S., Watenberg, M., Bernardy, N. (2003). A Randomized Trial of Truama-Focused Group Therapy For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60, 481-489.


Clinical Resources

Classen, C., Butler, L. D., & Spiegel, D. (2001). A Treatment manual of present-focused and trauma-focused group therapies for sexual abuse survivors at risk for HIV infection. Stanford, CA: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine.


Training Opportunities

None known at this time.

Treatment Resources

Note: The resources provided below are intended to supplement not replace foundational training in mental health treatment and evidence-based practice