Group cognitive analytic therapy for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse


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Abstract

Objectives.The effectiveness of cognitive analytic therapy delivered in groups has been under-researched considering the popularity of the approach. This study sought to investigate the effectiveness of 24 sessions of group cognitive analytic therapy (GCAT) delivered in routine practice for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA).Methods.In a longitudinal cohort design, N = 157 patients were treated with 24 sessions of GCAT. Validated outcome measures were administered at assessment, pre-GCAT, and post-GCAT. This enabled rates of reliable and clinically significant change to be compared between wait time and active group treatment. The uncontrolled treatment effect size was then benchmarked against outcomes from matched studies.Results.On the primary outcome measure, GCAT facilitated a moderate effect size of 0.34 with 11% of patients completing treatment meeting ‘recovery’ criteria. The dropout rate was 19%. Significant improvements in interpersonal functioning, anxiety, and well-being occurred during GCAT in comparison with wait time on secondary outcome measures.Conclusions.Group cognitive analytic therapy appears a promising intervention for adult female CSA survivors, with further controlled evaluation indicated.Practitioner points.Group cognitive analytic therapy appears a promising and acceptable intervention for female CSA survivors experiencing high levels of psychological distress.Long-term follow-up studies are required with CSA survivors to index the clinical durability of GCAT.A GCAT treatment fidelity measure needs to be developed and evaluated.

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