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Trauma-focused Psychodynamic Therapy for Underserved LGBT Patients With Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Clinical Trial Details

Despite high prevalence of PTSD among LGBT individuals, there are no data characterizing the disorder in this population, nor its treatment. This represents an important under-researched area in LGBT care and treatment. The purpose of this study is: (a) to preliminarily characterize PTSD within an LGBT sample; and (b) to test out the preliminary effects and acceptability of a novel PTSD psychotherapy, trauma-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy, in this group.

Participants identifying as LGBT and meeting DSM-5 criteria for PTSD per a structured, reliable clinical interview for PTSD will receive 20-24 sessions of twice-weekly trauma-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy (TFPP), an experimental intervention, at no cost. Participants will receive four detailed clinical research assessments, at baseline/study entry, Week 5 of treatment, treatment termination/end (Week 12), and 3-months after the end of treatment.

The psychotherapy and assessments in this study have been approved to be performed remotely using teletherapy platforms during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

TFPP is adapted from the only empirically supported, non-exposure focused psychodynamic therapy for panic disorder and anxiety disorders, panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy. TFPP aims to improve patients' ability to understand and manage strong, intense emotions that appear seemingly "out of the blue," which links to their tendency to reexperience traumatic events in the here-and-now. TFPP addresses the psychological meanings of symptoms and their relationship to traumatic events to help the patient understand underlying emotions triggering their symptoms and the ways in which trauma influences their current experiences. TFPP was developed for patients with complex PTSD, who often have multiple prior trauma exposures with no clear "index" trauma. Moreover, TFPP also explicitly considers opportunities for patients to explore the broader context of their symptoms and difficulties, including but not limited to LGBT identity or experiences of oppression.

Key Eligibility: 

Inclusion Criteria

  • Aged 18-65
  • Identify as LGBT
  • DSM-5 defined diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, as assessed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale
  • Psychiatric medication on stable dose for at least past two months
  • Lives in and can do teletherapy from the state of New York

Exclusion Criteria

  • History of or current diagnosis of a psychotic or bipolar disorder
  • Primary substance use disorder
  • Severe depression
  • Severe suicidality
  • Organic mental syndromes that may interfere with study demands (e.g., organic dementia)

Study contact by location

Upper East Side - Manhattan


John Keefe, PhD

Primary Investigator(s)

Protocol ID(s)

Weill Cornell Medicine IRB #:




Open to Enrollment

Age Group