Exploring the acceptability of delivering Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) to UK veterans with PTSD over Skype: a qualitative study

Rachel Ashwick, David Turgoose, Dominic Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research shows that veterans with mental health difficulties are reluctant to engage with treatment due to a number of practical and psychological barriers. Tele-therapy has been proposed as an alternative method of delivering therapy to ensure hard-to-reach groups receive the care they need. Objective: This study aimed to explore the acceptability of using tele-therapy for treating PTSD in a sample of UK veterans. Methods: Sixteen participants who had engaged with tele-therapy for PTSD were contacted following the cessation of their treatment, including those who had not completed the full course of therapy. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted and the transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Five key themes emerged: Effect of your own environment, Importance of good therapeutic alliance, Technicalities and practicalities, Personal accountability and Measuring change. Effect of your own environment was described with sub-themes of control over your own environment, lack of support between sessions and snap back to reality. The Importance of good therapeutic alliance encompassed putting a face to the name, impersonal feeling and no different from being in the room. Technicalities and practicalities depicted good preparation is key, the flexibility of Skype, technical aspects and session length and timing. Personal accountability detailed finding the time and space, managing attendance and engagement and moving forward. Measuring change illustrated negative past experiences with therapy, improving self-recognition and managing symptoms. Discussion: Tele-therapy appeared to be acceptable within this sample of veterans with many reporting overall positive experiences and improvements to their health. Future research is needed to foster a more supportive environment during and after therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1573128
JournalEuropean journal of psychotraumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019


  • Journal Article

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