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UT Health To Train More Therapists To Treat PTSD

STRONG START PTSD Consortium based at UT Health San Antonio
Katy Dondanville, Psy.D., ABPP, who works at Fort Hood, is part of the STRONG STAR Training Initiative.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common problem among military veterans. Now, UT Health San Antonio is launching a statewide program to train more mental health providers how to treat PTSD.

The chaos of battle can leave soldiers scarred physically and often mentally. In an effort to help more veterans suffering with PTSD, UT Health is launching the STRONG STAR Training Initiative.


Specialists in the field will be training 200 therapists around Texas in seven cities, including San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Waco, Austin, San Marcos, and Corpus Christi. They'll learn how to use short-term evidence-based therapies that have been shown to cut down on the nightmares, irritability, and suicidal thoughts which plague some people who’ve had traumatic experiences.

"We’re talking anywhere between ten and fifteen sessions," explainedKaty Dondanville, Psy.D., ABPP, who works at Fort Hood. "They’re going back to living a more meaningful life. And they don’t need to come to see me for years upon years."

Credit STRONG START PTSD Consortium based at UT Health San Antonio
Brooke Fina, LCSW, BCD, trains therapists how to use Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy to help veterans suffering from PTSD.


Funding for the Texas training is from the Texas Veterans + Family Alliance Grant Program. Money from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will help the program expand nationally in 2018.

Dondanville says teaching community mental health providers about military culture is crucial to success. "Understanding military culture as it relates to the ways in which their traumas are affecting them is really important," she said.

Up to 20 percent of American troops coming back home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffered from PTSD for at least awhile. The Texas training program will enbale at least a thousand veterans get the help they need.


Wendy Rigby is a San Antonio native who has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years. She spent two decades at KENS-TV covering health and medical news. Now, she brings her considerable background, experience and passion to Texas Public Radio.