How ‘vulnerable’ young people describe their interactions with police: building positive pathways to drug diversion and treatment in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Design: A randomized waitlist-controlled design (n = 74) examined the efficacy of Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM) among male veterans with current-month flashbacks and nightmares. Volunteers were randomly assigned to immediate treatment (three 120-minute sessions of RTM), or to a 3-week waiting condition before receiving the RTM treatment. Blinded psychometricians evaluated the symptoms at intake, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks post. Wait-listed participants were re-evaluated and then treated. Sixty-five volunteers completed the treatment. Results: Of those treated, 46 (71%) lost DSM diagnosis for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by one of the following definitions: 42 persons (65%) were in complete remission (PTSD Symptom Scale Interview (PSS-I) ≤ 20 and DSM criteria not met). Four others (6%) lost the DSM diagnosis or were otherwise sub-clinical by dichotomous criteria (PSS-I < 20 and absence of flashbacks and nightmares) but non-ambiguous on the PTSD Checklist Military Version measures. Within-group RTM effect sizes (Hedges' g) for PSS-I score changes ranged from 1.45 to 2.3. The between-group comparison between the treatment group and the untreated controls was significant (p < .001) with an effect size equivalent to two standard deviations (g = 2.13; 95% CI [1.56, 2.70]). Patient satisfaction with the intervention was high. Conclusions: RTM shows promise as a brief, cost-effective intervention for PTSD characterized primarily by intrusive symptoms. Clinical or methodological significance of this article: The article provides evidence to support a fast (5 hours or fewer) robust intervention for PTSD characterized by intrusive symptoms including current-month flashbacks, nightmares, and accompanied by sympathetic arousal in response to trauma narratives. The intervention is well tolerated and has demonstrated efficacy up to one year.


publication date

  • 2019