Treatment by means of writing therapy (ITT)
The treatment is a standardized, internet-supported writing therapy. Standardized means that the treatment is designed according to a scientifically tested model with a defined fixed sequence of interventions. All communication during the treatment occurs exclusively via the Internet.
The ITT treatment lasts six weeks. During this time, participants write eleven texts, two per week, lasting 45 minutes each. Participants determine which days and at which times they wish to write. After, for example, one, or two texts, the participant receives personal feedback from therapists for the successive texts. The therapists are all trained clinical psychologists, who have received specific training for the methodology and application of the treatment.
If questions should arise between composition of texts or in case technical or content-oriented problems occur, participants are able to get their answers via the internet or by phone.
Criteria for participation
First of all, by means of the implemented questionnaires, the appropriateness of Internet Writing Therapy is evaluated. Participation is denied if persons require intensive medical and/or psychological assistance (for reasons such as severe depression or suicidal tendencies, etc.) This is also the case for individuals under the age of 65 who suffer from alcohol or drug dependency (including sedative dependency). A further exclusion criterion applies to persons who currently are engaged in parallel psychotherapeutic treatment. Since the treatment is conducted exclusively via the Internet, it is necessary for participants to aquire access to an Internet-connected PC and must have a personal email account. If internet access is interrupted for more than a week, it is also not possible to participate in the treatment. In particular exceptions, treatment can be conducted via post or fax.
The treatment consists of three components.
In this study, the integrative writing therapy not only concentrates on the trauma itself, but focuses on the whole life story of the client. The traumatic experience is being retold and imbedded into their biography. In this manner, the person can view their entire lifespan.
- First component (biography work) : During this phase, life up until the present is being remembered. Throughout seven writing tasks, several circumscribed phases of life are observed and written down using the support of memory aids.
- Second component (self-confrontation): In this phase, two texts are written in which the focus is on the traumatic experience. It should be described in detail. This confrontation has therapeutic effect as its goal
- Phase 3 (cognitive restructuring and parting): In the last phase, two texts are written in which the experiences and thoughts are described from the present point of view. Completion of this letter also serves as termination with a part of the past. This does not mean that the past has been forgotten or put aside. Instead it has been given a place of ist own and therefore has less influence on the present.