New research from Phoenix Australia shows real and significant improvement in PTSD for military personnel and veterans who receive state of the art brief and intensive treatment.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious and disabling mental disorder, affecting military personnel and veterans at higher rates than the general community. The long-term impacts of PTSD can be devastating on an individual’s overall well-being, their family life as well as their ability to maintain social relationships and successful employment.


One of the most evidence-based treatments for PTSD is prolonged exposure therapy which systematically and safely assists the person with PTSD to address their memories of the event/s that underlie their condition. This treatment has traditionally been delivered on a weekly basis over a 10 – 12 week period. However, many military personnel and veterans do not access this treatment due to barriers in attending weekly treatment over longer periods of time and therefore do not receive its benefits.


To provide military personnel and veterans with the best chance of recovery and maximise uptake of treatment research was required to study whether this high quality and evidence-based treatment could be provided in a more intensive format with equal effectiveness. This would mean it could be available to a much larger cohort of military personnel and veterans overcoming barriers to treatment, and clinicians providing care could be trained to deliver it effectively.


In light of this, with funding from a National Health and Medical Research Council grant and in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Phoenix Australia from the University of Melbourne led the RESTORE trial.


The RESTORE trial is Australia’s largest ever treatment trial of PTSD in military personnel and veterans. The trial tested prolonged exposure therapy weekly (over 10 weeks) compared with intensive daily (over two weeks). The trial showed the intensive treatment was equally effective in significantly reducing PTSD in almost all participants, with over 50% in both treatment options no longer meeting criteria for the condition.


 This is a game changer. We know that many military personnel and veterans experience a range of barriers to uptake of trauma focused therapies that extend over longer periods of time. The opportunity to be in the same place for long periods of time for example, may not exist and this makes it more difficult to commit to and engage with effective treatment,” says Associate Professor Lisa Dell, Phoenix Australia.

“We also know providing high quality and evidence-based treatment will provide military personnel and veterans with the best chance to recover. Our research has shown a more intensive version of PTSD treatment is highly effective, which can overcome a significant barrier for those military personnel and veterans who may have only brief windows of time in which to receive treatment.”


“Our research has also importantly found that we can train providers of mental health care to military personnel and veterans (psychologists, mental health social workers and other allied mental health providers and psychiatrists) to deliver this much shorter, more intensive evidence-based treatment for PTSD with great effect”.


“We can act immediately to ensure our military personnel and veterans with PTSD have access to the best possible mental health treatments and evidence-based care to prevent the development of more serious, life debilitating problems and quickly improve the lives of those who have had PTSD for some time,” says Professor Forbes, Director, Phoenix Australia.


Phoenix Australia will continue to improve the lives of military personnel, veterans and their families through their commitment to innovation and leadership through national and international roles in military and veteran mental health and traumatic stress.


For more information about Phoenix Australia’s vital research and how you can help improve the lives of Australian military personnel and veterans, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.