If you are interested in participating in this study, you will be asked to complete a screening questionnaire online, followed by a 60-minute phone interview to determine if you are eligible. People for whom online therapy is not suitable will receive information about alternative treatment options.
If you qualify for the study and agree to participate, you will be assigned a therapist, with whom you will begin one of two Internet-based writing therapies lasting about six weeks. Participants are asked to set aside a quiet time to write for 45 minutes two times every week, at a time of their choice. Over the six weeks, eleven narratives are written. Participants receive detailed writing instructions before each narrative, as well as individualized feedback from their personal therapist within two business days of submitting their narrative.
If you are eligible to participate, you will be randomly assigned (as by the flip of a coin) to receive Internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy or Internet-based supportive therapy. Communication between you and your therapist will happen exclusively across the Internet, in written form, through our secure Web platform. Through guided writing, Internet-based cognitive therapy may help you process the traumatic experiences you lived through during the 9/11 WTC attacks or your WTC recovery work. Through guided writing, Internet-based supportive therapy may help you work through any life problems you might currently be experiencing.
Participants are also asked to complete questionnaires at various points throughout the therapy. All information transmitted during the course of treatment is kept strictly confidential. Only your individual therapist and select study personnel will have access to the content of your narratives.
The study is being conducted at Mount Sinai under the direction of Dr. Adriana Feder and is funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Dr. Feder has extensive experience in the treatment of individuals with PTSD and other posttraumatic symptoms following the WTC attacks. All treating therapists are social workers or psychologists who are specially trained in the application of these online therapies.
Participation in this study is voluntary. If any participant wishes to withdraw from the study at any point during treatment, there are no negative consequences to treatment. The ability to withdraw from the study is always available and does not need to be justified.