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Interventions and treatments for trauma-related disorders across cultures

Theme leaders
Debra Kaysen (contact: Cedra Wright)Luzimar Vega

Trauma exposure and related responses are major contributors to the global burden of disease. There are evidence-based interventions for addressing trauma-related symptoms like PTSD, depression, and anxiety, they have predominantly been developed in Western countries. More research has been conducted recently into how to adapt these interventions for other communities and populations, and whether these adapted interventions are effective.


1. Cultural Adaptations for Psychotherapeutic Interventions for PTSD: a narrative review  

Project leader: Stefanie Freel


The literature has demonstrated support for brief, effective to treat PTSD (Bisson et al., 2019) and the World Health Organization has affirmed that these approaches are recommended (WHO, 2013). However, most of these treatments were developed in and for individuals in Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) countries, and even within those countries may underrepresent ethnically and culturally diverse clients, and other historically underrepresented and marginalized groups. There is increasing evidence that evidence-based practices and cultural competency can be complementary. Generally psychological guidelines recommend culturally adapting treatments to improve acceptability and to improve cultural fit. At the same time, there is a risk that adaptations may decrease efficacy, especially if core treatment elements are disrupted.


The aim of this project are threefold.  First, the project aims to review prevailing theoretical frameworks for cultural adaptation. Second, it aims to provide a narrative review of the PTSD treatment literature to identify examples of types of cultural adaptations and the effects on both treatment acceptability and efficacy. Third, it aspires to provide recommendations about how to approach treatment adaptation in order to preserve essential and effective therapeutic elements.

Current status 

The research group has received a request for an invited review article, due December 2022. The project is currently seeking co-authors interested in contributing to the literature review and writing of the manuscript. This review article may in turn provide the basis for a future research project.​​

How to get involved

This project will be meeting via zoom and via email online, on a regular basis. We are currently actively looking for partners.

For more information, please contact Debra Kaysen



2. Global Perspectives on Culturally Sensitive Trauma Training

Project leader: Krithika Prakash

Project group: Trainees - Graduate students in relevant fields, post-docs, medical residents

Aims & Method

Bring together a team of student researchers across the world with the goal of understanding the quality of culturally sensitive trauma training provided to them, and answer the following questions: 

  • What does "culturally-sensitive trauma training" mean across cultures?

  • What kind of training is provided regarding best practices for trauma-informed care?

  • Where do trainees learn about trauma-informed care- courses, workshops, seminars, direct patient contact?

  • What areas do trainees feel like further guidance and training is needed?

  • Do trainees feel ready to independently assess and treat traumatic stress cases in their communities?

Please find the preliminary project plan here.

How to get involved

Please contact: Krithika Prakash

*Student projects are projects run by students.

The Global Collaboration on Traumatic Stress emphasizes the importance to bring together trainees, graduate students, medical residents or post-docs across the world to work together on topic of global importance. Students are the future!

Read more on Student projects.

People and Flower Graffiti

3. Searching for expertise on mental health support for victims of severe intimate partner violence around the world

Project leader: Chris Hoeboer

Project group: Remco Wijn, Victor Kallen, Miranda Olff


Victims of severe intimate partner are likely to experience mental health complaints such as (complex) posttraumatic stress disorder. However, these victims may be socially isolated and experience difficulties in accessing regular support organizations.



To enhance our skills and expertise it is our aim to get in touch with, and learn from, initiatives across the world providing mental healthcare support to victims of severe intimate partner violence. We are specifically interested in collaborations between mental healthcare organizations, the police and other support organizations for victims of intimate partner violence and in cross-cultural differences in the treatment and process of establishing contact with these victims.


​How to get involved?

Please contact: Chris Hoeboer


  • Kessler, R. C., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Alonso, J., Benjet, C., Bromet, E. J., Cardoso, G., . . . Survey, W. W. M. H. (2017). Trauma and PTSD in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8(1).

  • Schnyder, U., Schafer, I., Aakvaag, H. F., Ajdukovic, D., Bakker, A., Bisson, J.I., Brewer, D., Cloitre, M., Dyb, G.A., Frewen,P., Lanza, J., Le Brocque, R., Lueger-Schuster, B., Mwiti, G.K., Oe, M., Rosner, R., Schellong, J., Shigemura, J., Wu, K., & Olff, M. (2017). The global collaboration on traumatic stress. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8(1) .

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