Adolescent and nurse perspectives of psychotherapeutic interventions for PTSD delivered through task-shifting in a low resource setting
CITATION: Van De Water, T., et al. 2018. Adolescent and nurse perspectives of psychotherapeutic interventions for PTSD delivered through task-shifting in a low resource setting. PLoS ONE, 13(7): e0199816, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0199816.
The original publication is available at http://journals.plos.org/plosone
Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.
Background: This investigation compared the perceived effectiveness of supportive counselling (SC) and prolonged exposure for adolescents (PE-A) by treatment users (adolescents with PTSD) and non-specialist treatment providers (supervised nurses). Method: Adolescent participants and nurse providers were purposively recruited to share their experiences of trial participation through face to face semi-structured in-depth interviews and treatment-specific focus groups (all recorded). Twelve adolescent participant transcripts (ten interviews and two focus groups) and three nurse provider transcripts were doubly transcribed. Thematic content analysis was applied using Atlas.ti software. Two emerging themes are presented in this paper: 1) Perceptions of the intervention and 2) Usefulness of the intervention. Results: Regardless of treatment arm, adolescents experienced warm counselling relationships and described the process of extending trust to the counselor. Adolescents in the PE-A arm provided clear descriptions of session structure and treatment rationale compared with adolescents receiving SC. The most helpful tools were breathing retraining and imaginal exposure for PE-A and creation of distraction strategies during non-directive SC. Adolescents in both arms continued to use the techniques acquired during treatment and reported symptom improvement. Participants who received SC acknowledged ongoing reexperiencing. Nurses perceived SC to be an immediately transferable skill, but feedback on their preference for one intervention over the other was inconclusive. Conclusion: Both PTSD treatment strategies, implemented by non-specialists, were perceived as helpful. Overall, adolescents reported warm therapeutic relationships and a reduction in PTSD symptoms. Nurses stated that they would require institutional support to ensure delivery of these interventions in a scalable and sustainable manner.