Evaluation of an online pilot ‘complex trauma stabilisation’ group intervention in an adult mental health service

Ilana Foreman, Aimee Shipp, Melanie Staley, Catherine Ford

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Background: Complex-PTSD causes distressing symptoms. NICE guidelines recommend a phased treatment approach, but there are often gaps within services providing psychological treatments for CPTSD. A pilot service in East Anglia aimed to fill gaps in current service provision. An online CPTSD group intervention was developed, focusing on phase one of trauma treatment: stabilisation. Aim: This project aimed to evaluate the pilot online CPTSD stabilisation group intervention by exploring if group attendance was associated with changes in CPTSD symptoms, and to explore participant experiences. Method: Participants attended a 12-session, two-hour, weekly group programme, held online via MS Teams. Three additional individual sessions were offered before, during and after the group. Sixty-six participants completed the programme; of whom 40 completed four pre-post outcome measures (DERS, PTCI, TMQQ, ITQ), and 25 completed an anonymous feedback survey. Results: Paired t-tests comparing pre-post measure scores showed statistically significant differences across all measures, with medium effect sizes. Lower scores were seen after group completion, indicating the group was associated with reduced CPTSD symptoms. Participant feedback indicated most participants (83 %) expressed a preference for online delivery and 68 % found the intervention beneficial. Conclusions & implications: Attendance of the pilot online CPTSD stabilisation group intervention was associated with symptom reduction and positive feedback. This appears to be the first online, mixed-gender CPTSD stabilisation group evaluation. Ultimately results are promising, though suggest further research is warranted to establish if such groups would provide an effective treatment for CTPSD and help reduce NHS waitlists. Service recommendations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100383
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma & Dissociation
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Complex PTSD
  • Group
  • Online
  • Phased treatment
  • Stabilisation

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