About this Research Topic
Recently there has been growing awareness of the trauma associated with racism (both current and historic) with an increased understanding of the interaction between racism, trauma, and serious mental illness. In addition, traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual and physical abuse can shape the nature of prominent psychotic symptoms such as the content of auditory hallucinations and delusional beliefs. Additionally, traumatic experiences are implicated in the role of ‘stress responsivity’ and increased risk for transition to psychosis in those identified as being at clinical high risk of developing psychosis. Finally, although the diagnostic criteria for PTSD primarily emphasize the effects of trauma on anxiety, avoidance, physiological over-arousal, and negative thoughts, it is well established that PTSD is frequently accompanied by psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions that cannot be attributed to another DSM-V Axis I disorder such as psychotic depression or schizophrenia. Understanding the contribution of traumatic experiences to the etiology of psychosis and other symptoms can inform the provision of cognitive behavioral therapy for psychosis, including the development of a shared formulation of the events leading up to the onset of the disorder, as well as other trauma-informed treatments that address distressing and disabling symptoms associated with trauma and psychosis.
Until recently the trauma treatment needs of this population have been neglected, despite the high rates of trauma and PTSD in persons with psychotic disorders, and in spite of substantial gains made in the treatment of PTSD in the general population. Fortunately, progress in recent years has provided encouraging evidence that PTSD can be effectively treated in people with psychotic disorders using interventions adapted from PTSD treatments developed for the general population. In contrast to clinician fears about the untoward effects of trauma-focused treatments on persons with a psychotic disorder, research indicates that post-traumatic disorders can be safely treated, and that participants frequently experience symptom relief and improved functioning.
We welcome contributions including (but not limited to) the following areas:
• Interplay between racial injustice, trauma, and psychosis
• Assessment of psychosis and trauma within a cultural framework
• Clinical case examples of the treatment of trauma and psychosis
• Clinical protocols and measures
• First person accounts of trauma and psychosis
Keywords: Trauma, Psychosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD
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