2/1/24 Grand Rounds

Group Therapy for the Treatment of PTSD in Primary Care


Kate Zona, PhD
Clinical Psychologist, Primary Care Behavioral Health Integration (PCBHI);
PCBHI Clinical Manager, MCREW Region;
Director of Measurement Informed Care, Division of Population
Behavioral Health Innovation, Cambridge Health Alliance;
Instructor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School

Will Schleyer, MD
Instructor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School;
Staff psychiatrist, Cambridge Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES);
Associate Program Director for the Adult Psychiatry Residency, CHA

There is a significant burden of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the primary care population and thus greater access to effective PTSD treatments within primary care is needed. We will present the results of a systematic literature review of group therapy for primary care patients with PTSD. We will describe common treatment foci and outcomes across studies, including effects on emotional regulation, isolation, and interpersonal functioning. A specific model of group therapy for individuals in early trauma recovery will also be described. We will present the results of a pilot study of this treatment model at a federally qualified health center. The review and pilot study suggest that group therapy for PTSD in primary care may be a promising and scalable approach to meet the high need for trauma treatment. The implications for future research on the feasibility and impact of PTSD group treatment implementation in this setting will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
    1. Identify the importance and potential benefits of providing group treatment for PTSD within primary care settings.
    2. Describe the results of a systematic review of group therapy for PTSD in primary care.
    3. Describe characteristics of a group therapy model designed for individuals in early recovery and findings from a pilot study of its implementation in a primary care setting.