Training community therapists to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy in the aftermath of disaster.
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In this paper we examine the effectiveness of disseminating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Postdisaster Distress (CBT-PD) to community therapists in Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. One hundred four therapists attended a two-day training in CBT-PD with on-going case consultation. Pre- and post-training, therapists rated eight core cognitive behavioral therapy elements on their importance, how well they understood how to deliver the element, and how confident they were in their ability to deliver the element. Post-training they completed a CBT-PD knowledge questionnaire and session fidelity forms. Seventy-seven clients completed satisfaction questionnaires and reported on how often they utilized the skills taught in CBT-PD. Therapists showed significant improvements in their ratings of the importance of various elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, their knowledge and understanding of those elements, and their confidence that they could use them effectively. Immediately following the training 90% of therapists demonstrated excellent retention of CBT-PD. Self-report measures from both therapists and clients indicated that critical session elements were delivered. This work suggests that CBT-PD can be applied in a real-world setting and that community therapists can be trained in relatively short time spans with on-going support. This finding is especially important in the disaster field given that communities are likely to find themselves in emergency situations in which a number of non-expert trauma therapists will need to deliver trauma services.
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