Trauma Recovery Innovations

The Trauma Recovery Innovations Program is dedicated to developing treatments for people affected by traumatic events that are easier to use and sustain in real world clinical settings across the globe. The psychological effects of traumatic events are major contributing factors to the global burden of disease. They include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and substance use disorders which in turn lead to tremendous societal and personal costs. PTSD alone costs an estimated $3 billion per year in lost worker productivity.  
Given the public health effects of traumatic events like sexual assault, natural disasters, and combat exposure, the research efforts of the Trauma Recovery Innovation Program have tremendous potential to improve care for individuals who experience trauma. There are interventions with strong research support. However, many people cannot get access to these treatments.
Because of this, we are devoted to creating new interventions and to rebuilding existing interventions from the ground up to make them easier to learn and deliver. In tandem with this effort, we are studying novel means of delivering new and repurposed interventions and developing best practices surrounding their implementation and dissemination. We work to increase both the accessibility and portability of evidence-based interventions for a wide range of populations and settings.
Debra Kaysen, PhD, ABPP directs the Trauma Recovery Innovations Program along with Kristen Lindgren, PhD,  ABPP, Associate Director, and core faculty members Michele Bedard-Gilligan, PhD and Cindy Stappenbeck, PhD.
Improving Alcohol and PTSD Treatment
Over the past 10 to 15 years, therapies addressing PTSD and addictions simultaneously have been developed and tested, but with disappointing results. New information suggests established and effective treatments originally designed to treat PTSD (Cognitive Processing Therapy) or addictions (Relapse Prevention) can be helpful for both problems. This University of Washington and Seattle VA project will test this idea in the hopes of expanding treatment options for people with PTSD and alcohol problems. Investigators: Debra Kaysen, PhD (Principal Investigator); Tracy Simpson, PhD (Principal Investigator); David Atkins, PhD; Dennis Donovan, PhD; and Patricia Resick, PhD

Expanding Mental Health Treatment for Survivors of Sexual Violence in the DRC
Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo have high levels of exposure to sexual and physical violence. Despite this, few women have access to effective treatments for the types of mental health concerns that can result from trauma exposure. We tested a 12-session group psychotherapy led by local Congolese psychosocial assistants for trauma-related symptoms. The psychotherapy was highly effective for improving PTSD, depression and daily functioning with benefits lasting up to six months. We are now working with the Congolese government to expand the program. Investigators: Debra Kaysen, PhD (Principal Investigator); Kristen Lindgren, PhD; Kari Stephens, PhD.; Judy Bass, PhD; and Laura Murray, PhD

Improving Outcomes for College Women Following Sexual Assault
Studies of college women suggest up to 30% have experienced an attempted or completed rape since age 14. Women with a history of sexual assault are more likely to drink heavily and experience alcohol-related problems than women who have not been exposed to sexual violence. Therefore, the goal of this project is to develop and evaluate a novel web-based intervention to reduce heavy drinking among college women with sexual assault histories by increasing their options for more effective coping. Should this web-based intervention prove effective, it has the potential to reach women that might not otherwise seek traditional therapy.  Investigators: Cynthia Stappenbeck, PhD (Principal Investigator); Debra Kaysen, PhD; Dennis Donovan, PhD; Melanie Harned, PhD; David Atkins, PhD; and William George, PhD

Developing a Brief Early Cognitive Intervention for PTSD and Alcohol Misuse
Following sexual assault, many survivors may develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or alcohol problems. Intervening soon after assault can decrease the risk of developing these disorders. This project is developing a brief intervention for PTSD symptoms and alcohol use available immediately following sexual assault. The intervention will involve one in-person counseling session with four phone-based follow-up sessions. We are working with university and community agencies to develop an intervention that would be useful for providers in the settings where survivors first present for care. Investigators: Michele Bedard-Gilligan, PhD (Principal Investigator), Debra Kaysen, PhD., Tatiana Masters, PhD., Tracy Simpson, PhD., and Cynthia Stappenbeck, PhD

Addressing Young Native American Women’s Health
American Indian women suffer high rates of violence exposure and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that often co-occur with high risk drinking and risky sexual behaviors. In full development with tribal partners, this project has culturally adapted and tested a trauma-focused treatment, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD, to examine whether treatment of PTSD will also improve substance use and HIV/STI sexual risk behavior among American Indian women. This is a collaborative effort between the School of Social Work’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) and Trauma Recovery Innovations. Investigators: Cynthia Pearson, PhD (Principal Investigator); Debra Kaysen, Ph.D., Karina Walters, PhD., and Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD
Improving Soldier’s Health (Warrior’s Checkup)
Military men and women who experience multiple deployments, dislocation from family and friends, and combat trauma are at increased risk to abuse alcohol, drugs and prescription medicines. And yet, soldiers are often reluctant to seek help. The check-up is an empathic and non-judgmental intervention designed to reach people who may not identify themselves as needing treatment, but realize their lives are off track because of drugs or alcohol. Counselors use confidential telephone counseling sessions to increase an individual's motivation to decrease substance use and promote treatment seeking. This is a collaborative effort between the School of Social Work’s Innovative Programs Research Group (IPRG) and Trauma Recovery Innovations. Investigators: Denise Walker, PhD (Principal Investigator); Roger Roffman, DSW, Clayton Neighbors, PhD, Lyungai Mbilinyi, PhD, and Debra Kaysen, PhD.
Core Affiliate Groups

Kaysen (2).jpg Debra Kaysen, PhD, ABPP

Director, Trauma Recovery Innovations Program

Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

P: 206-221-4657