What type of therapy would I be receiving?

You would be randomly assigned to one of the two treatment methods:

  • Relapse Prevention Therapy (RP) is a therapy that helps participants effectively address the difficulties in their lives that contribute to their substance abuse. This therapy assists participants with being able to identify and cope with their personal triggers for drinking. This therapy helps people change their drinking in ways that may reduce problems they’ve been having.

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a therapy that addresses memories, thoughts and emotions regarding a traumatic event. CPT allows participants to talk about their beliefs about safety, trust, control, self esteem, other people and relationships and the effect the trauma has had on their beliefs.

Is the therapy used proven to be effective to treat alcohol problems and PTSD or just one?

Both RP and CPT have been successfully proven to effectively treat both problems with alcohol and PTSD.

Does everyone get treatment right away?

Most people will be randomly assigned to get either RP or CPT right away. So that we can compare the effects of the two treatments to how people do when they aren’t in active treatment, some people will be randomly assigned to monitor their symptoms for 6 weeks before they are assigned to either RP or CPT.

If I am found to be eligible for the study when do I get started with treatment or monitoring?

If after the screening assessments the study seems like a good fit for you we will ask you to call into a telephone symptom monitoring system every day for a week before starting either RP or CPT or the 6 weeks of symptom monitoring. You will be paid for each of the calls you make and you will get a bonus if you make all 7 calls in a week.

Where do I receive the treatment?

Therapy appointments take place at either the Seattle VA or Harborview Medical Center. You can choose which site works best for you!

What are my chances of being assigned to RP or CPT right away?

People who are eligible for this study have an 80% chance of being randomly assigned to receive treatment right away (either RP or CPT). They will start therapy about a week after the screening visit if they are able to call into the symptom monitoring system consistently.

What happens for the people who aren’t assigned to get treatment right away?

People who are eligible for this study have a 20% chance of being randomly assigned to complete 6 weeks of symptom monitoring before receiving treatment. People who are assigned to monitor their drinking and PTSD symptoms for 6 weeks will get a phone call from one of the study therapists each week to check in about how they are doing and answer any questions they might have. At the end of 6 weeks they will complete another assessment and then will be randomly assigned to receive either RP or CPT for 6 weeks. They won’t need to call into the symptom monitoring system during the 6 weeks of treatment.

How will my progress in treatment be tracked?

During the 6 weeks of therapy or symptom monitoring we will ask you for information on how you are doing in two ways:

  1. We will ask you to call into an automated telephone data collection system every day to answer a series of questions about alcohol craving, alcohol use, PTSD symptoms and coping. These calls usually last between 4 and 6 minutes and you will be paid for completing them.
  2. Once a week your study therapist will ask you to complete two brief questionnaires about your recent alcohol use and your PTSD symptoms so that you and the therapist can address your symptoms as effectively as possible.

Will I be reimbursed for my travel time?

To assist with travel expenses, you will be provided with $5 cash at each of your therapy and in-person follow up appointments.  The total amount of money you can receive for transportation assistance is up to $75. Additionally, both the VA and Harborview offer free parking for all study participants.

How long do I need to commit to?

We ask that you commit to the full 6 months for the study (this includes the 6 weeks of treatment, 6 weeks of phone monitoring, and 3 months of brief follow ups).

I don’t want people to find out I am in this program, how will my identity be protected?

You will be assigned a subject ID that is used instead of identifying you with your name. All items are stored in a locked filing cabinet that only research members have access to. All surveys conducted online use encrypted software to ensure protection of your personal health information.

Can I leave the study whenever I want?

Yes, your participation in the study is completely voluntary and you can also refuse to answer any questions you don’t want to answer.

How often will I get paid?

Based on your completion of the surveys, daily phone calls and treatment groups you can earn up to $463. You will be paid by check at the end of in-person appointments and will also receive $5 cash as travel assistance. Please allow 3-5 weeks to receive checks for completing the daily phone calls in the mail.

How do I sign up?

Call Sruti Desai, Research Coordinator at the University of Washington, to find out if you are eligible 206-543-0584.