Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor investigated the feasibility, appeal, and clinical efficacy of an MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) group intervention, adapted for combat-related posttraumatic stress, or PTSD, as the VA still calls it.
Consecutive patients seeking treatment for chronic PTSD at a VA outpatient clinic were enrolled in 8-week MBCT groups, modified for posttraumatic stress (four groups, n = 20) or brief treatment-as-usual (TAU) comparison group interventions (three groups, n = 17).
Pre- and post-therapy psychological assessments used the CAPS scale (clinician administered PTSD scale) on all patients.  In addition, the MBCT groups filled out , self-report measures (the PTSD diagnostic scale, PDS, and the posttraumatic cognitions inventory, PTCI).

The results in intent to treat analyses showed significant improvement in PTSD (CAPS (t(19) = 4.8, P < .001)) in the MBCT groups, but not the TAU conditions.  There was also a significant Condition × Time interaction in the MBCT completers (F[1,35] = 16.4, P < .005).
In addition, MBCT completers (n = 15, 75%) showed good compliance with assigned homework exercises, and significant and clinically meaningful improvement in PTSD symptom severity on posttreatment assessment in CAPS and PDS (particularly in avoidance/numbing symptoms), and reduced PTSD-relevant cognitions in PTCI (self blame).
[Ed Note: However it’s important to note that 15 out of 80 subjects completing the program is not a strong percentage.]

The investigators conclude that these data suggest group MBCT may be an acceptable brief intervention/adjunctive therapy for combat PTSD, with potential for reducing avoidance and PTSD cognitions.
Further studies are needed to examine efficacy in a randomized controlled design and to identify factors influencing acceptability and efficacy.

Citation:  King AP, Erickson TM, Giardino ND, Favorite T, Rauch SA, Robinson E, Kulkarni M, Liberzon I. A pilot study of group mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Depress Anxiety. 2013 Jul;30(7):638-45. doi: 10.1002/da.22104. Epub 2013 Apr 17. [email protected]