Effectiveness of Group Psychotherapy Among Women with Multiple Traumatic Life Events: A Pilot Study in the Southeast Anatolian Region

Sezgin U., Punamaki R.

JOURNAL OF LOSS & TRAUMA, no.6, pp.557-575, 2008 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/15325020802173694
  • Journal Name: JOURNAL OF LOSS & TRAUMA
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.557-575
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The effectiveness of group psychotherapy in decreasing PTSD symptoms and psychiatric distress (e.g., depression, anxiety, and hostility) and increasing adequate coping strategies was examined among women exposed to severe violence and multiple trauma. The gender- and culture-sensitive group therapy was tailored to increase self-awareness, violence protection, empowerment, and coping capacity and to create support networks. Participants were 33 women from the Southeast Anatolian region diagnosed with PTSD. Women completed the Post Traumatic Stress Scale, the Impact of Event Scale Revised, the Brief Symptom Inventory, and the Scale of Coping With Stress at pretherapy, posttherapy, and at 3 and 6 months' follow-up. The group psychotherapy sessions involved a 2-day meeting once a month for 5 months. Results showed significant decreases in PTSD symptoms and depressiveness, anxiety, hostility, interpersonal problems, and paranoid ideation during the group therapy, and the improvement sustained across the follow-ups. Inadequate coping strategies (submissive approach and helpless withdrawal) decreased and seeking social support increased during the therapy, and the change was sustained across follow-ups. Group psychotherapy tailored specially for multitraumatized women and sensitive to their culture proved to be effective in decreasing psychological suffering and increasing resources.