From trauma to psychosis: developing an interventionist-causal approach for dissociation and voice-hearing in people with complex trauma

Clancy, Moya (2020) From trauma to psychosis: developing an interventionist-causal approach for dissociation and voice-hearing in people with complex trauma. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Integrated approaches to psychological interventions for trauma and psychosis: a systematic review of case studies

Objective: Trauma has been proposed to play a role in the development and maintenance of psychosis. Psychological therapy approaches that integrate both psychosis and traumatic experiences are in their infancy with evidence largely consisting of case reports, case series and single case design studies. This review aimed to synthesise the types of psychological interventions described in case studies, their outcomes and methodological quality.

Method: Systematic database searches were conducted using a pre-determined search strategy and inclusion criteria to identify case studies reporting psychological therapies for psychosis and trauma among adults. Studies that met inclusion criteria underwent a process of calibration, inter-rater reliability and data extraction. The review was pre-registered with PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42020178384).

Results: 17 case studies met inclusion criteria. Psychological interventions included psychotherapy (n=6), integrated CBT for psychosis and trauma (n=2), and trauma-focused approaches (n=9). Methodological quality ranged between poor (n=4), moderate (n=9) and high (n=4). Case studies reported improvements in trauma-related and psychotic symptoms. Case studies also highlighted symptom exacerbation.

Conclusions: This review described a wide range of case studies of psychological interventions, mainly from psychotherapeutic and CBT schools. Methodologically robust research is required and improved adherence to SCRIBE reporting standards.

Connection to the Environment with Cognitive Therapy (CONNECT): Exploring trauma, dissociation and voices through targeted psychological intervention using a single-case experimental design.

Background: When considering pathways from trauma to psychosis, evidence suggests that dissociation plays a pivotal role. Adopting an interventionist-causal stance, the current study investigated whether targeting dissociation through psychological intervention (Connection to Environment with Cognitive Therapy [CONNECT]) lead to improvements in dissociation, Auditory Hallucination Frequency (AH-F) and Distress (AH-D) for people who have experienced trauma.

Methods: This study utilised a randomised multiple baseline single-case experimental design. Four participants with dissociation, AH and trauma were randomised to baselines of two, three of four weeks and received eight sessions of CONNECT. Dissociation, AH-F and AH-D were assessed at baseline, pre-intervention, post-intervention and 1-month follow-up, session-by-session, and daily self-report. Data were analysed using visual analysis, Tau-U analysis and Reliable Change Indices.

Results: CONNECT led to a significant improvement in dissociation at combined level and non-significant improvements at the individual level. CONNECT did not lead to significant improvements in AH-D or AH-F at the combined or individual level, with the exception of one participant among whom AH-F significantly decreased.

Conclusions: Contrary to evidence that dissociation maintains AH, reducing dissociation through targeted psychological intervention did not lead to improvements in AH. Further research is warranted with particular emphasis on interventionist-causal approaches, digital technology and network analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Field supervisor: Dr Kirsten Atherton.
Keywords: Systematic review, psychosis, trauma, therapy, treatment, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychosis, trauma, dissociation, auditory hallucinations, trauma-focused, single-case experimental design.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: Gumley, Professor Andrew
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Miss Moya Clancy
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81663
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2020 14:07
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2022 10:48
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81663
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