Our research focuses on treatment for patients who have experienced multiple traumas, most often beginning with abuse in childhood, and who suffer from a wide array of post-traumatic symptoms in adult life.
For many years, we have been collecting initial and follow-up data from patients in treatment at the VOV Program, tracking their progress in a naturalistic study of treatment outcome. Patients have routinely been asked to complete a packet of self-report measures. In addition, a small sub-group of patients have volunteered to be interviewed for a measure of resilience and recovery developed by our founding program director, Mary Harvey, Ph.D. Over the years, this data set has been the basis for numerous articles and book chapters (see PUBLICATIONS).
With support from the Annenberg Foundation, we have also recently completed a treatment manual, based on a model of time-limited group psychotherapy that has been practiced at VoV for many years. This manual has just been published as a book: The Trauma Recovery Group, by Guilford Press (see PUBLICATIONS).
We are now embarking on an ambitious 4-year, randomized, controlled, treatment outcome study, funded by NIMH. The VoV program will be one of four sites for a dissemination trial of a new, brief treatment model, called STAIR/MPE, which has proved highly effective for patients with complex trauma in initial clinical trialsi. STAIR/MPE will be compared to the usual treatment practices at four public mental health clinics in the US and Canada.
The VOV research team also traditionally includes our post-doctoral fellows. Other VoV trainees are welcome but not required to participate. We expect our fellows to identify their own projects, based either on the VoV data set or on another related source of data. We encourage our fellows to present their original ideas as posters within the Harvard Department of Psychiatry, as conference papers, and as articles in professional journals. In this way, we hope to prepare the next generation to make their own original contributions to progress in the treatment of patients with complex trauma.
i Marylene Cloitre, K. Chase Stovall-Mc Clough, Kate Nooner, Patty Zorbas, Stephanie Cherry, Christie L Jackson, Weijin Gan & Eva Petkova (2010): Treatment for PTSD related to childhood abuse: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Psychiatry 167:915-924.