Narrative exposure therapy for survivors of human trafficking: feasibility randomised controlled trial

Article


Brady, F., Chisholm, A., Walsh, E., Ottisova, L., Bevilacqua, L., Mason, C., von Werthern, M., Cannon, T., Curry, C., Komolafe, K., Robert, R. E., Robjant, K. and Katona, C. 2021. Narrative exposure therapy for survivors of human trafficking: feasibility randomised controlled trial. BJPsych Open. 7 (Art. e196). https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2021.1029
AuthorsBrady, F., Chisholm, A., Walsh, E., Ottisova, L., Bevilacqua, L., Mason, C., von Werthern, M., Cannon, T., Curry, C., Komolafe, K., Robert, R. E., Robjant, K. and Katona, C.
Abstract

Background

Human trafficking is a grave human rights violation and a major public health concern. Survivors present with high rates of mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies of effective treatments for PTSD in survivors of human trafficking are lacking. Narrative exposure therapy (NET) is an effective PTSD treatment for multiple, prolonged and complex trauma, but its efficacy has not been rigorously tested in survivors of human trafficking.

Aims

To test the feasibility and acceptability of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) offering NET as a treatment for PTSD in trafficking survivors with a history of multiple traumatic events, as well as providing preliminary evidence regarding its efficacy (trial registration: ISRCTN95136302).

Method

A single-blind RCT compared NET with a wait-list control in survivors of trafficking with PTSD (n = 25). In the NET arm of the study, participants attended a mean of 17 sessions.

Results

NET was well tolerated by participants. There were significant reductions in PTSD, depression and anxiety symptoms post-treatment in the NET group but no significant change in the wait-list group.

Conclusions

The results indicate that NET is a promising and acceptable treatment for trafficking survivors. Psychological therapy in an RCT design can be safely delivered to this vulnerable group, although modifications are required to ensure their holistic needs are properly addressed.

JournalBJPsych Open
Journal citation7 (Art. e196)
ISSN2056-4724
Year2021
Publisher Cambridge University Press for Royal College of Psychiatrists
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2021.1029
Publication dates
Online28 Oct 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Sep 2021
Deposited03 Nov 2021
FunderOak Foundation
Copyright holder© The Author(s), 2021
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