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Research Shows Changing Appraisals Leads to Positive Outcomes for Those with PTSD

A traumatic event can have a lasting impact on an individual. For some, the memory of the event generates feelings of shame, guilt, anger, fear and other emotions. In the medical field, such reactions are often referred to as appraisals as they relate to the perceptions developed due to the traumatic event. If these appraisals could be changed, the reaction to the event may also change.

A post in Good Therapy explored this concept as researchers look for ways to help promote recovery for those with posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. A study recently conducted at King’s College explored whether or not changes in appraisals could predict a change in the severity of symptoms for those undergoing PTSD cognitive therapy.

[tc2 img="//www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ranch-trauma-treatment200x200.jpg" title="Trauma and PTSD Treatment" url="//www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/treatment/trauma-and-ptsd-treatment/"]The Ranch in Tennesse provides comprehensive recovery treatment for survivors of trauma of all types, including childhood traumas. The Ranch can also treat co-occurring addictive and compulsive disorders. The Ranch’s exceptional clinical team can treat the disorders related to or triggered by trauma: PTSD, acute stress disorder, dissociative disorder, OCD disorder (obsessive/compulsive disorder), and panic disorder.[/tc2]

In an assessment of 268 individuals, all with varying symptom severity levels, a significant decrease in symptoms was measured as a result of cognitive therapy. The symptom results were directly predicted by appraisal changes and the majority of those involved were below the clinical threshold for PTSD after intervention was complete.

Study results showed that when appraisals were changed, so too were the symptoms associated with PTSD. As a result, cognitive mediation is a critical treatment method for those with PTSD. It also suggests that those with moderate or severe symptoms can receive the same level of benefit from this type of therapy.

Another promising result is the fact that even those participants with highly negative appraisals were able to benefit from this intervention. Such findings help clinicians and therapists to best design their treatments for PTSD to drive positive change.

There is still hope.

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