Written exposure therapy for suicide in a psychiatric inpatient unit: A case series

Tyler, H., Fina, B. A., Marx, B. P., Young-McCaughan, S., Sloan, D. M., Kaplan, A. M., Green, V. R., Blankenship, A., Bryan, C. J., & Peterson, A. L., for the STRONG STAR Consortium
Nov 2, 2022

Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 29(4), 924-937.

Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at an elevated risk of suicide. For patients hospitalized for suicide risk, psychosocial treatment and stabilization are routinely offered; however, the availability of evidence-based, manualized therapeutic interventions for PTSD is sparse. Typically, the short duration of hospitalization makes it difficult to accommodate evidence-based, trauma-focused treatments. This article presents the clinical course of four active-duty service members with PTSD who were hospitalized in a psychiatric inpatient unit for acute suicide risk and treated with Written Exposure Therapy for Suicide (WET-S). WET-S is a brief, five-session therapy based upon Written Exposure Therapy and augmented with Crisis Response Planning for Suicide Prevention. Both posttraumatic stress symptoms and suicidal ideation were reduced from pre- to posttreatment for three of the four patients treated. WET-S shows promise as a manualized therapeutic intervention that can be delivered on an inpatient psychiatric unit.