By Dr. Amy Jak
Many Veterans have both Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and history of mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). Current treatments do not address the conditions together. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a popular treatment for PTSD. CogSMART (developed by CESAMH researcher Dr. Elizabeth Twamley) is a treatment for memory or attention difficulties often seen with mTBI. CESAMH researchers combined CPT and CogSMART to create a new treatment called SMART-CPT. CESAMH researcher, Dr. Amy Jak, studied this new treatment in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who had mild or moderate TBI and PTSD. Forty-nine Veterans received CPT-only. Fifty-one were trained in SMART-CPT. Individuals in both groups had about the same improvement in PTSD symptoms. The group who received SMART-CPT, however, showed additional improvements in attention, learning, memory, and problem solving compared to the CPT-only group. SMART-CPT more efficiently targets both PTSD and TBI symptoms with one treatment. Use of SMART-CPT can decrease time in therapy while still getting the benefits of both treatments.