Exploring the feasibility of providing Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM) Therapy Training to clinicians in Ukraine – A Service Evaluation

Elsevier, European Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, Volume 7, June 2023
de Rijk D.L., Campbell G., Greenberg P.N., Murphy P.D.

Background: A service evaluation was conducted of a rapid response brief trauma therapy training at the start of the Ukraine war. The aims of study were to explore the feasibility of providing brief therapy trauma training to upskill local therapists in Ukraine and to assess if the treatment approach was effective in reducing PTSD symptoms. Method: 26 clinicians were trained online in the delivery of Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM). Pre- and post-training clinician (n=26) self-rated competency was assessed using a modified version of the Cognitive Therapy Scale-Revised (CTS-R) (Blackburn et al., 2001, 2018). Clinicians were then requested to provide RTM as part of the delivery of their professional services. Routinely collected demographic and pre- and post- treatment psychometric data were collated from a clinical sample of patients (n=45) who completed RTM therapy. These psychometric measures were PCL-5 (probable PTSD >32), PHQ-9 (probable depression >9), GAD-7 (probable anxiety disorder >9) and the ITQ (to assess for probable complex PTSD, at baseline only). Results: Overall, we found evidence that clinician competency improved after training. Baseline patient data (N = 53) showed the severity of clinical presentations with 72% reporting probable PTSD on PCL-5 (of which 66% reported symptoms consistent with Complex PTSD on the ITQ), 60% probable depression (PHQ-9) and 52% probable anxiety disorder (GAD-7). Psychometric measurements provided post-treatment (N =45) showed 2% met caseness for probable PTSD (PCL-5), 11% for probable depression, and 5% for probable anxiety disorder. Whilst patient numbers were modest, a 25.8 point (64.4%) mean reduction in PTSD scores as measured by the PCL-5 were observed. Conclusions: Whilst this study has a number of limitations, we found it was feasible to remotely train mental health professionals working in Ukraine in RTM. Our data suggests that clinical competency increased, clinicians were able to successfully offer the trained trauma treatment to patients and the patient results indicate that rapid response brief trauma therapy training may have a beneficial effect in reducing symptoms of probable PTSD.