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Memory Reconsolidation Therapy for Police Officers with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Kerswell, NL, Strodl, E, Hawkins, D and Johnson, LR 2020 , 'Memory Reconsolidation Therapy for Police Officers with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder' , Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology , doi: 10.1007/s11896-020-09363-5.

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Abstract

Police officers are frequently exposed to traumatic events and therefore are at elevated risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) and other mental health conditions. While evidence-based treatments for PTSD such as prolonged exposure therapy demonstrate effectiveness, residual symptoms and relapse remain problematic outcomes. Improvements in outcomes may be enhanced bymodifying psychotherapy processes based upon recent neuroscientific findings. The present study explored incorporating memoryreconsolidation principles into evidence-based exposure therapy for PTSD to create memory reconsolidation therapy (MRT). MRTincorporates memory recall followed by a wait period to make memories liable for modification. Using a case series design, three policeofficers diagnosed with PTSD participated in a maximum of twelve 90-min sessions of MRT and recorded weekly self-report measuresof trauma symptoms and psychological distress. Results indicated participants experienced significantly reduced psychological distresswith gains maintained over a 3-month follow-up. A significant reliable reduction in trauma symptoms by post-therapy was identified intwo of the three cases with the third narrowly missing the clinically significant cut-off. These significant changes were maintained overthe 3-month follow-up in one participant, while the maintenance of these improvements in trauma symptoms approached significancein the other two participants. These findings provide preliminary evidence to justify larger future studies to test the efficacy of MRTwithpolice officers experiencing PTSD.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Kerswell, NL and Strodl, E and Hawkins, D and Johnson, LR
Keywords: memory reconsolidation, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, police, psychological distress
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Publisher: Springer New York LLC
ISSN: 0882-0783
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s11896-020-09363-5
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Society for Police and Criminal Psychology

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