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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Building PTSD Community Practice


Rural Provider PTSD Toolkit

Building a PTSD Community of Practice
Traumatic experiences that contribute to the development of PTSD may also leave an individual feeling isolated and disconnected from others. An important part of PTSD treatment involves maintaining a supportive network and repairing those relationships that have been damaged during the course of trauma and recovery. Family members and health care providers of individuals with PTSD often experience similar feelings of isolation and disconnection. Establishing and maintaining meaningful and dependable connections with others is important not only for the person with PTSD, but also for family members and health care teams who care for them. One way of accomplishing this for clinicians is by establishing a "PTSD Community of Practice."
Woman shaking mans hand
The community of practice concept was developed in the 1990s and was described as a group of individuals who share a craft, profession, or passion that forms either spontaneously or by design to gain knowledge and support.32 Benefits include:

  • Mutual support
  • Collaboration for generating solutions and strategies
  • Collective action to address shared concerns
  • Shared experience to develop learning and problem solving
  • Development of team building
  • Strengthening organizational culture
A community of practice can function in co-located settings or virtually, either online or through regular telephone or video conference calls between community members. You might consider creating one of two types of PTSD communities of practice.

Click a topic to learn more.
Profession-based Multidisciplinary
If you are considering creating a community of practice, use this checklist as your guide. You'll need the following in order to increase your chances of success:

  • A solid group leader or co-leaders are essential for attending to logistics, setting up topics and facilitating the calls (leadership can be rotated if the group prefers)
  • Regularly scheduled meetings or calls can lead to more stable functioning of the connected community
  • A forum archive of topics covered and recordings or slides from the group calls can be very helpful in keeping members connected
  • Input from group members not only during the calls, but between the calls, is important
  • Keeping the pulse on current issues and hot topics and offering open discussion or virtual chat during the calls can be invaluable in developing trust among the community as a forum for transparent and honest discussion
  • Timing is also important and for many clinical sites the lunch hour may be the only reliable time
A PTSD community of practice can be a meaningful, enjoyable and supportive feature in your clinical practice when you are providing care for individuals with PTSD, improving outcomes not only for those for whom you are providing care, but for you and your entire team.

PTSD Information Voice Mail: (802) 296-6300
Also see: VA Mental Health