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Sharif El-Leithy and
Hannah Murray

Plotting a course through choppy waters: Navigating complexity in PTSD treatment


Six hours of fabulous CPD plus generous resources

This workshop was developed and devised by Hannah Murray and Sharif El-Leithy, and delivered live by Sharif El-Leithy

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Sharif El-Leithy

Dr Sharif El-Leithy is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working in the Traumatic Stress Service, South London. He has over 20 years of experience in using cognitive-behavioural therapy to treat PTSD arising from complex traumatic experiences, including victims of war, torture, and domestic and childhood abuse


Hannah Murray

Dr Hannah Murray was a Research Clinical Psychologist based at the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, University of Oxford. Until her recent death Hannah developed, tested and disseminated treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

El-Leithy & Murray, Complex PTSD: Team Members
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Navigating complexity in PTSD

Hannah Murray and Sharif El-Leithy



Cognitive therapy for PTSD is a highly effective treatment, but aspects of clinical complexity can complicate treatment and limit its effectiveness in everyday practice. Working clinically with complicated PTSD can also be daunting for therapists. We may struggle to know where to start, spending many sessions on assessment or stabilisation.  Or we may lose course mid-way, finding ourselves veering between different problems and interventions, and drifting from evidence-based models and techniques. Yet recent evidence suggests that even the most complicated PTSD presentations can be treated in a relatively short timeframes, as long as our interventions are well-targeted and we hold fast to key principles.

The workshop will give you an overview of the most up-to-date evidence for treating PTSD using CBT, and what it tells us about navigating complexity.

The workshop will cover how to:

Conceptualise complexity in PTSD presentations

Generate treatment targets and priorities based on mapping the underlying processes

Develop and deliver modularised treatment plans

Supercharge your therapy with the latest evidence-based techniques.

Address issues such as comorbidity, multiple trauma memories, and risky behaviours

Navigate complications, avoid drift and stay on course with treatment.

Using detailed clinical vignettes, we will discuss how to plan and deliver treatment efficiently with complicated PTSD presentations. Participants will have the opportunity to watch clips of key skills, practice developing treatment plans and reflect on their own cases.

Key References:

Barton, S., Armstrong, P., Wicks, L., Freeman, E., & Meyer, T. D. (2017). Treating complex depression with cognitive behavioural therapy. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 10.

Hendriks, L., Kleine, R. A. D., Broekman, T. G., Hendriks, G. J., & Minnen, A. V. (2018). Intensive prolonged exposure therapy for chronic PTSD patients following multiple trauma and multiple treatment attempts. European journal of psychotraumatology, 9(1), 1425574.

Van Vliet, N. I., Huntjens, R. J., Van DIjk, M. K., Bachrach, N., Meewisse, M. L., & De Jongh, A. (2021). Phase-based treatment versus immediate trauma-focused treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder due to childhood abuse: randomised clinical trial. BJPsych Open, 7(6).

Further Reading:

Murray, H. & El-Leithy, S. (2022). Working with complexity in PTSD: A cognitive therapy approach. London: Routledge

El-Leithy & Murray, Complex PTSD: Text

Listen to Hannah and Sharif discuss their workshop and the launch of their new book - scroll down and click the video

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Working with complexity book cover
El-Leithy & Murray, Complex PTSD: Welcome
El-Leithy & Murray, Complex PTSD: Videos

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