A Case Report of Home-Based Cognitive-Behavioural Treatment for Late-Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Triggered by Mask-Wearing in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A small but clinically significant number of people experience delayed-onset Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); symptoms of trauma years after the events which are now being re-experienced. The following case report describes the use of the cognitive-behavioural treatment for PTSD with a woman experiencing flashbacks to domestic abuse endured more than 20 years ago. Mask-wearing mandated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered non-contextualised memories of life-threatening physical violence by an abuser who covered his face. She had been managing her flashbacks and intrusive thoughts with both behavioural and experiential forms of avoidance. An 18-session intervention was provided in her own home due to physical health difficulties. Treatment focused on managing hyper-arousal, reducing thought suppression, in-vivo exposure, stimulus-discrimination and re-contextualising traumatic memories. Regular outcome measurements were kept and results are presented as a single-case experimental design in ‘AB’ format (i.e. baseline period pre intervention). Symptoms of trauma fell to levels non-indicative of PTSD and speak to the evidence base for this modality, even when applied to delayed-onset difficulties in a non-traditional therapy setting. This conclusion is lent extra credence by an experimental design with good internal validity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-605
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Case Studies
Volume21
Issue number6
Early online date18 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • CBT
  • COVID-19
  • cognitive model of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • delayed-onset post-traumatic stress disorder
  • home-based therapy
  • late-onset post-traumatic stress disorder
  • physical health
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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