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BACKGROUND: Therapists in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services are often expected to treat complex presentations of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as individuals with multiple, prolonged or early life trauma histories and significant co-morbidity, for which they have received minimal training. Although high recovery rates for PTSD have been demonstrated in randomized controlled trials, these are not always replicated in routine practice, suggesting that training interventions are required to fill the research-practice gap. AIMS: This study investigated the outcomes of a therapist training programme on treating PTSD with trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT). METHOD: Twenty therapists from ten IAPT services participated in the training, which consisted of workshops, webinars and consultation sessions over a 6-month period. RESULTS: Feedback indicated that participants found the training highly acceptable. PTSD knowledge and self- and supervisor-rated competence on TF-CBT measures improved following the training and improvements were maintained a year later. Client outcomes on a PTSD measure improved following the training. Participants reported attempts to disseminate learning from the course back to their teams. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that the training programme was successful in improving TF-CBT knowledge, skills and outcomes for IAPT therapists. Tentative support for training 'trauma experts' within IAPT services was found, although institutional constraints and staff turnover may limit the sustainability of the model.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Cogn Psychother

Publication Date





467 - 482


CBT, IAPT, PTSD, Post-traumatic stress disorder, training