World-first treatment for PTSD to help our veterans

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP
Assistant Minister for Defence
Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

A partnership between the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Department of Defence and the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health has led to world-first research and the development of an innovative new treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The research explored a new form of intensive exposure therapy, and results showed it to be as effective as standard treatment whilst offering greater lifestyle choice for veterans. 

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP said that this globally significant research is a testament to our ongoing commitment to improving the lives of veterans and families.

“Regrettably, veterans experience PTSD at higher rates than the general population. That is why we are committed to offering veterans experiencing PTSD the best range of treatments possible,” Minister Thistlethwaite said.

“The Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery (RESTORE) trial investigated a new method of delivering treatment for PTSD in an intensive two week period. 

“In its standard form, Prolonged Exposure therapy requires weekly treatment for 10 weeks. It can be difficult for veterans to commit to this period of time, especially when transitioning from the military and seeking employment.

“The RESTORE trial found that intensive exposure therapy is equally as effective as standard therapy, and participants were nearly four times less likely to drop out of therapy compared with those engaged in the 10-week treatment. 

“This treatment offers veterans a shorter method of therapy that may better fit their lifestyle,” Minister Thistlethwaite said. 

This innovative new therapy, developed in Australia, is now being offered to veterans and their families through Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling.

“Open Arms provides high quality, evidence-based, accessible and tailored health care that responds to the unique nature of military service, and its impacts on veterans and their families. Our clinicians are trained in this new therapy and are delivering treatment across the country right now,” Minister Thistlethwaite said.

A video summary of the RESTORE research can be viewed on DVA TV

Media contacts

Ben Leeson (Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite’s Office): +61 0404 648 275
DVA Media: media.team@dva.gov.au

Authorised by The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP.

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or the Open Arms website. Safe Zone Support provides anonymous counselling on 1800 142 072. Defence All-Hours Support Line provides support for ADF personnel on 1800 628 036 or the Defence Health Portal. Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608