Staff Voices: Review of ‘Assessment and Treatment Planning for PTSD’

Staff Voices: Review of ‘Assessment and Treatment Planning for PTSD’

I just obtained a copy of a newly published book focused on the Assessment of PTSD. This book,
published last month, is titled Assessment and Treatment Planning for PTSD. Although many
professionals are well-acquainted with Wilson & Keane’s Assessing Psychological Trauma and PTSD, last
revised in 2004, there have been few PTSD assessment books published recently. As I began to thumb
through the book I had a few questions…

1. What does this book contribute to the literature?

Although this book briefly reviews instruments and tools available for PTSD assessment, it focuses on
clinical guidance, alternative considerations and practical advice. Reading this book is akin to having a
directed discussion with a seasoned clinician on how to best assess complicated cases. This book covers
several special topics including: forensic evaluations, assessment of PTSD symptoms in adolescents
and children, and assessment of PTSD with veterans. Authors consider alternative explanations for
ethnoracial differences in rates of trauma exposure, discuss other post-traumatic symptoms (i.e.,
dissociation and somatization), and make suggestions about how to detect over-reported symptoms.

2. Is this book useful to its intended audience?

I believe this book is useful for busy mental health professionals. It presents a brief but thoughtful
review of key considerations when conducting psychological assessment with trauma survivors. As this
text assumes some working knowledge of PTSD and considers many special circumstances, I would
consider it to be beyond the introductory level and likely an intermediate text. The authors are credible,
appropriately credentialed and site recognized authorities as needed.

3. What makes this book unique?

This book begins with a thoughtful review of the history of PTSD, states the importance of using
evidence-based practice and presents a thoughtful guide for working with trauma survivors. The third
chapter emphasizes the need to assess trauma history in a sensitive way that is likely to minimize
damage to or even build rapport.

The authors summarize the anticipated changes in the diagnostic criteria for PTSD in the upcoming DSM-
V, noting that the changes are relatively minor and unlikely to lead to a significant change in the way we
diagnose, conceptualize, or treat PTSD.

Finally, it should also be noted that a brief chapter on treatment planning has been included in this
book; this chapter identifies cognitive-behavioral treatments other than cognitive processing therapy

and prolonged exposure. In short, authors note the benefit of CPT and PE but also remark that the
systemic adoption of PE and CPT as the treatment of choice in the VA/ DoD have significantly impacted
the breadth of use of these treatments.

If you would like to learn more, you may read an excerpt here.  

Frueh, B. C., Grubaugh, A. L., Elhai, J. D., Ford, J. F. (2012). Assessment and Treatment Planning for PTSD
Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

What concerns do you have about PTSD assessment and treatment planning?

What questions do you have about assessing PTSD in special populations?

What are your thoughts about removing the A2 criterion?