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This study is no longer recruiting.

This research compared two treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


The aim of this research is to compare two treatments for Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One is conducted face-to-face with a therapist and the other is conducted online with some support from a therapist. We hope to find out if they are equally effective at helping people with PTSD. Our results will inform the NHS about which treatments to recommend.

Purpose of Research

Trauma-focused talking therapies such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have been shown to be effective in helping people with PTSD. Unfortunately, there are not enough trained NHS therapists to deliver this treatment and waiting times are often long.

To make access to treatment quicker and easier, we have developed an online guided self-help programme. The programme is based on trauma-focused therapy and combines some online sessions at home with regular guidance meetings with a therapist. A number of people with PTSD have completed the programme and have found it to be an acceptable and useful alternative to face-to-face therapy.

We now need to compare the online programme with regular face-to-face therapy in a large study to find whether it is equally effective at helping people with PTSD. Similar treatments seem to be effective for depression and other anxiety disorders. If it proves to be an effective treatment, it could significantly shorten waiting times for PTSD treatment in the NHS.

Who can take part?

We are looking for individuals over the age of 18 who have a diagnosis of PTSD to a single traumatic event and have regular access to the internet.

What does it involve?

  • Completing a short telephone assessment with a researcher to check that you are suitable for the study. This will last around 20 minutes and will include some questions about your symptoms.
  • If you are suitable, you would be asked to keep a simple diary of your symptoms for two weeks. If after two weeks, you still have problematic symptoms, you will be asked to continue with the next steps of the study.
  • Completing a face-to-face assessment with a researcher. This will take around 60-90 minutes.
  • Taking part in either the eight-week online guided self-help or the 12 week face-to-face therapy.
  • A computer programme will be used to decide which therapy you will receive and you will have an equal 50:50 chance of being allocated to either group.
  • Completing follow-up assessments at 16 weeks after you first started treatment and again at 52 weeks. These can be conducted in the clinic or in your own home, at a time to suit you and will last around 1 hour.

Principal Investigator

Professor Jon Bisson, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board.



National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ

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