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Trauma

Trauma Studies

Trauma Studies conducts research into the psychological consequences of mass trauma – including wars, political violence, torture and natural disasters – and develops effective treatments for survivors.

Its work is undertaken in collaboration with the Istanbul Centre for Behaviour Research and Therapy in Turkey (ICBRT/DABATEM), an independent organisation. Professor Metin Basoglu is both head of Trauma Studies and founder and director of ICBRT / DABATEM. Professor Basoglu is internationally known for his work on the treatment of anxiety disorders and psychological trauma. Since the early 1990s, he has conducted research into the psychological effects of political violence, torture, war and earthquake trauma and has developed effective psychological methods for treating survivors. He has published extensively on the phenomenology and treatment of anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and agoraphobia, and posttraumatic stress disorder. His recent publications include a book on A Mental Healthcare Model for Mass Trauma Survivors - Control-Focused Behavioural Treatment of Earthquake, War, and Torture Trauma published on March 3, 2011 by Cambridge University Press.

Trauma Studies specialises in behavioural treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Its primary mission is to develop a cost-effective mental healthcare model for survivors of mass trauma, including brief assessments and interventions based largely on self-help principles. It aims to promote this evidence-based treatment technology to disaster-struck or post-war countries around the world.

Trauma Studies conducts its research internationally. One large project in the early 2000s has investigated the psychiatric and cognitive effects of war trauma in more than 2,000 survivors in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. A second large project has been carried out in Turkey to examine the psychological effects of the 1999 earthquakes and to develop effective treatments for survivors. This work led to the development of Control-Focused Behavioural Treatment (CFBT), which is an exposure-based intervention designed to reduce traumatic stress by enhancing anxiety / distress tolerance and control. CFBT can be delivered in 1 to 4 sessions with marked improvement in traumatic stress in over 80% of the cases.

A variant of CFBT is Earthquake Simulation Treatment, which is designed to help survivors overcome their fear of earthquakes through one session of exposure to simulated earthquake tremors in an earthquake simulator. This treatment was demonstrated to achieve substantial improvement in traumatic stress in 90% of survivors. 

The team has also developed tools for cost-effective dissemination of treatment knowledge to earthquake survivors as well as to care providers. These include a highly structured self-help manual and a CFBT Delivery Manual designed to guide professionals or lay therapists in treatment delivery.

Trauma Studies is currently running a treatment research project in Turkey aimed at developing a similar mental healthcare model for traumatised asylum-seekers and refugees based on brief behavioural treatments. Preliminary evidence shows that CFBT is also highly effective in survivors of war and torture trauma.

The publications of Trauma Studies on psychological trauma are listed in the team’s staff directory entries and at the ICBRT/DABATEM website, where there is also more detailed information about different projects.

Trauma Studies is in the Department of Psychological Medicine.

NOTE: Training opportunities available only at ICBRT/DABATEM in Istanbul where Trauma Studies is currently conducting treatment research with asylum-seekers and refugees.

Trauma Studies 
PO Box 91 
Department of Psychological Medicine 
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience 
De Crespigny Park 
London SE5 8AF

Current address for correspondence with Trauma Studies staff: 
DABATEM 
Siraselviler Cad. Meselik Sok. 26 / 5 
Beyoglu, Istanbul 
Turkey
E-mail: dabatem@dabatem.org

See a comment by Prof. Metin Basoglu on "The likely psychological toll of the disaster in Japan and its socio-economic consequences: Prospects for recovery from mass trauma."

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