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DECRYPT (‘Delivery of Cognitive Therapy for Young People after Trauma’) is a randomised controlled trial (RCT) aimed at supporting children and young people aged 8-17 years who have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of exposure to multiple traumas.



PTSD can be very distressing, chronic and disabling in young people, and can affect academic performance, social functioning and general mental health. Its symptoms include:

Memories of the event popping into mind   •   Nightmares   •   Trouble concentrating   •   Feeling irritable Problems sleeping      Not enjoying things   •   Avoiding certain places or situations



To be included in this study, a young person must:

  1. have been involved in multiple traumatic events

-E.g. physical or sexual abuse, witnessing domestic violence, repeated community violence, torture or war; it might be the same trauma repeated multiple times OR different trauma types.


  1. be aged 8-17 years
  2. meet criteria for PTSD, where another psychiatric disorder does not warrant more urgent treatment (e.g. psychosis, severe depression, suicidal behaviour, conduct disorder). The DECRYPT study team will help to establish if a young person meets criteria for PTSD or not.


In summary, we are trying to treat young people aged 8-17 years who have developed PTSD as a result of exposure to multiple traumatic experiences, where PTSD is the main problem that needs to be addressed.



We are sorry, but a young person cannot take part in the DECRYPT study if they have:

  1. Had any change of prescribed psychiatric medication within the past two months;
  2. PTSD symptoms only related to a single traumatic event;
  3. developmental/neurodevelopmental disorder (e.g. autism);
  4. diagnosis of intellectual disability;
  5. primary psychiatric diagnosis that warrants treatment ahead of PTSD (e.g. psychosis, severe depression, suicidal behaviour);
  6. inability to speak and understand English;
  7. on-going threat (e.g. living with an abuser) or safeguarding issue;
  8. strong likelihood of being unable to complete treatment (e.g. imminent move or placement move); or
  9. history of organic brain damage.



The study is run by our team at the University of East Anglia (UEA). It is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (the Research & Development) arm of the NHS). The study has been approved by The Cambridge South Research Ethics Committee (16/EE/0233).

The trial team from UEA will be completing baseline questionnaires and interviews with the participants and parents/carers, and will also provide training in cognitive therapy (CT-PTSD) to local clinicians. The interventions, both cognitive therapy and treatment-as-usual, will be provided by local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) team members.


Frequently asked questions