Trauma-Informed Treatment May Lead to Better Outcomes for Psychosis


Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute wondered why a “surprisingly high percentage of study applicants” for studies in PTSD presented with psychotic symptoms. Upon reviewing the data they found that of 223 consecutively evaluated individuals, 38 (17%) were found to be ineligible because of psychotic symptoms. These individuals were more likely to have suffered child abuse, and to have taken a greater number of lifetime medications than study-eligible applicants, although they met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. The researchers conclude that a trauma-informed framework might lead to greater engagement with treatment and more positive outcomes for some individuals with psychotic symptoms. Results appear in Psychiatric Services.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].