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Emory School of Nursing Professors Among Authors Featured in Yoga RCT Results Article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

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J. Michael Moore
Dir. of Communications

Dr. Ursula Kelly, PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, PMHNP-BC, and others provided interim results after assessing the effectiveness of Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among women veterans with PTSD related to military sexual trauma (MST). According to Dr. Kelly, this is the first RCT comparing yoga with CPT, the latter being a trauma-focused psychotherapy gold standard treatment as an intervention for PTSD.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Paradigm, Practice, and Policy Advancing Integrative Health is the leading peer-reviewed journal providing scientific research to evaluate and integrate complementary and alternative medicine into mainstream medical practice. The Journal featured this article based upon the team’s original research that shows how TCTSY directly impacts PTSD patient care therapies and strategies, ultimately improving the quality of healing for complex diagnoses.

Dr. Kelly is an Emory Nursing Associate Professor whose research and clinical expertise focus is on the impact of interpersonal violence on women’s mental and physical health. She works as the principal investigator of this Veterans Administration (VA)-funded study of trauma-sensitive yoga for women veterans with PTSD, exploring barriers to care and developing innovative treatment models. Dr. Kelly’s TCTSY model focuses on the sense of the physiological condition of the body, in Hatha style yoga, and relay themes of establishing safety, individual choice, being in the present moment, and taking effective action.

Dr. Kelly also is a subject matter expert advisor for the Women’s Health Research department under the VA’s Health Services Research & Development center. She will present findings and recommendations to the Independent Review Commission that President Biden established to review how the Department of Defense is handling military sexual trauma. To evaluate larger scale TCTSY implementation in the VA, there will be additional research needed. The goal is to establish TCTSY as another first-line treatment option for women veterans with MST-related PTSD.

The results of this study suggest that Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga “may be a viable and acceptable alternative for PTSD treatment, especially for women veterans with MST and complex trauma-related PTSD.” This yoga method contributes great relevance to clinical and policy decisions and is much less costly, easier to deliver, and is scalable. Dr. Kelly feels these initial results are “a major development in clinical care for this difficult to treat problem.” For information on Dr. Ursula Kelly’s publication, visit The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. For information on her work, visit her profile on our faculty and staff directory.

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