August 3, 2011

Treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder via the InternetDoes Therapeutic Alliance Matter?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Menlo Park, California; VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California; and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

JAMA. 2011;306(5):543-544. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1097

Mass violence—whether intentional attacks or the result of natural disasters—adversely affects survivors and often causes widespread disruption, displacement, and disability. Epidemiological studies have reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or symptoms of PTSD in almost one-third of communities affected by mass violence.1 Evidence-based psychological therapies used to treat PTSD are available, but obstacles such as a shortage of mental health care professionals and patient stigma toward treatment often limit accessibility to these therapies. Posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with significant socio-occupational dysfunction; therefore, an imperative need exists for approaches that enhance access to treatment while preserving effectiveness of important factors such as the therapeutic relationship between patients and mental health care professionals.