The purpose of this study is to learn ways to improve treatments for Veterans with military sexual trauma (MST). The researchers want to learn whether combining evidence-based emotion regulation skills training with a trauma-focused therapy improves treatment outcomes. An evidence-based trauma treatment known as Prolonged Exposure will be used. Emotion regulation skills will also be included in treatment. Veterans with a positive or sub threshold diagnosis of PTSD who experienced a military sexual trauma (MST) will be included. Participants will complete up to twelve 90 minute sessions of PE with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Emotion Regulation Skills Training followed by a post-treatment assessment. All aspects of the project including consent, baseline, treatment and follow-up will be completed either in person or via videoconferencing. Fifteen participants will be enrolled.
Veterans who have prematurely dropped out of exposure therapy for PTSD will be contacted and offered the opportunity to return to treatment, this time with the assistance of a Veteran who has successfully completed this treatment in the past. Participants may receive a PE "Workout Buddy." This peer will meet them at the in vivo exposure therapy location and offer support and encouragement while the patient remains in that location. Participants may receive a PE general support peer. This peer will contact them once per week to check in about treatment progress and encourage session attendance, as well as discuss any life stresses. As the PTSD treatment standards in Charleston and other VA sites across the country increasingly include telemedicine delivered care, both in person and telemedicine based exposure therapy recipients will be included.