Integrating Crisis Response Planning for Suicide Prevention into Trauma-Focused Treatments: A Military Case Example

OBJECTIVE:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal thoughts and behaviors are common in military members and veterans and produce anxiety for many clinicians. Although there are separate interventions for PTSD and elevated suicide risk, there is not much guidance on how to integrate these approaches. Crisis response planning (CRP) is an evidence-based tool used to prevent suicide attempts that can easily be integrated into trauma-focused therapies for patients with PTSD.

METHOD:

Given the high frequency of suicidal thoughts among patients with PTSD, the current paper discusses how CRP can be integrated into trauma-focused therapy. A clinical case example is provided to demonstrate how the CRP can be integrated into cognitive processing therapy for a suicidal veteran diagnosed with PTSD.

RESULTS:

Using CRP within a cognitive processing therapy treatment program reduced both PTSD and suicidal ideation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Suicide specific treatments can be integrated effectively into trauma-focused treatments.