Utilization of evidence-based psychotherapies in veterans affairs posttraumatic stress disorder outpatient clinics

Erin P. Finley, Hector A. Garcia, Norma S. Ketchum, Donald D. McGeary, Cindy A. McGeary, Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, Alan L. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


In response to the growing numbers of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has sought to make evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD available at every VA facility. We conducted a national survey of providers within VA PTSD clinical teams (PCTs) to describe utilization of prolonged exposure (PE) and cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and to identify individual and organizational factors associated with treatment uptake and adherence. Participants (N = 128) completed an electronic survey assessing reported utilization of PE and CPT treatments, adherence to treatment manuals, and characteristics of the provider and workplace environment. Participants reported conducting a weekly mean of 4.5 hours of PE, 3.9 hours of CPT (individual format), 1.3 hours of CPT (group format), and 13.4 hours of supportive care. Perceived effectiveness of PE and CPT were significantly associated with utilization of and adherence to those treatments. Reported number of hours conducting supportive care was positively associated with feeling the clinic was not sufficiently staffed (p = .05). Adherence to the PE treatment manual was positively associated with receiving emotional support from coworkers (p < .01). Provider attitudes and organizational factors such as staffing and work relationships may have an important impact on treatment selection and the quality of PTSD care provided in VA PCTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Cognitive processing therapy
  • Implementation
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Prolonged exposure
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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