Adjusting the Timeframe of Evidence-Based Therapies for PTSD-Massed Treatments

Jennifer Schuster Wachen, Katherine A. Dondanville, Wyatt R. Evans, Kris Morris, Allison Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: Current clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) strongly recommend individual manualized trauma-focused therapy. However, it can be challenging for patients to complete a full course of treatment. There has been recent interest in modifying the format of evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD to be delivered within a shorter time frame to reduce the likelihood of dropout and optimize the potential for a positive treatment outcome. This article will review the existing literature on massed psychotherapies for PTSD, including only the treatments highly recommended by the current PTSD treatment guidelines that have been modified to an intensive format. Recent Findings: The literature supporting massed treatment formats for PTSD is limited to date. Two randomized clinical trials (RCTs) provide the strongest evidence for efficacy for prolonged exposure and cognitive therapy for PTSD, and preliminary studies of cognitive processing therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing are promising. Summary: Current results suggest that massed formats of existing evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD are promising efficient and effective methods to expedite recovery from PTSD symptoms. Additional RCTs are needed to demonstrate the efficacy of these treatments in a range of patient populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Intensive treatment
  • Massed treatment
  • PTSD
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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