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The RESTORE Trial

Do you believe you may have developed PTSD during or after your military service?

If so, treatment is available. Contact your Medical Officer today to see if you may be eligible for the RESTORE (Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery) trial.


What is the RESTORE trial?

The RESTORE trial is investigating one of the most effective treatments for PTSD – prolonged exposure. Prolonged exposure therapy is a gold standard evidence-based treatment best described as a type of trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy.

Prolonged Exposure assists you to:

  • Deal with traumatic memories in a gradual, safe and supportive manner - a process known as imaginal exposure;
  • Reclaim your life by gradually and slowly learning to confront the places and activities that are being avoided - a process known as in vivo exposure; and
  • Address unhelpful thoughts and interpretations of the traumatic event, yourself, others and the world - a process known as cognitive therapy. The aim of prolonged exposure therapy is to reduce the distress associated with reminders of the traumatic event and improve quality of life.

  • What does RESTORE involve?

    In its current form, prolonged exposure requires weekly treatment for 10 weeks. However, this period of time can be difficult for current and ex-serving ADF members to commit to. We want to see whether a new intensive form (daily sessions for two weeks) is as effective as the standard form (one session a week for 10 weeks).

    If you are eligible for the trial, you will receive prolonged exposure therapy delivered face-to-face by an experienced psychologist. Before treatment starts, you will first be randomly allocated to receive either weekly or daily treatment sessions, and you will be asked to make a commitment to attend all 10 treatment sessions (either over 10 weeks, or 2 weeks, depending which you are allocated to). Each session will be of 90 minutes’ duration. There will be no cost for the treatment you receive in the trial, and your Medical Officer will advise your Commanding Officer of your participation.

    The trial is being conducted from the Open Arms (formerly VVCS) offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Townsville. It is also being conducted at two Defence sites, including HMAS Stirling and the ADF Centre for Mental Health in Sydney.

    If you would like to participate, please speak to your local Medical Officer who can facilitate a referral into the trial.


    How can family help a member going through RESTORE?

    As the family of an ADF member participating in the trial, it is important to understand that they will find talking about their trauma and processing painful experiences difficult. You can expect that they will feel distressed during sessions and during or after their homework assignments. At times, they may present as irritable or anxious, have trouble sleeping, or appear depressed. This is generally temporary, and as treatment progresses these symptoms are expected to improve. Please understand that they will be provided with skills to manage their distress and closely monitored by the trial clinician and their Defence Medical Officer.

    You can support your family member through the RESTORE Trial by giving them the time, encouragement, and privacy to attend sessions and complete their homework. Understanding the impact of the treatment, and what that means for their capacity to participate in normal family life, is important in both the short and long term. Recovery from symptoms of PTSD can be a slow and gradual process, and having realistic expectations for the member and their family is in the best interests of the member’s recovery.


    For clinicians wanting to make referrals:

    To refer a current serving ADF member into the RESTORE trial, please contact a RESTORE intake officer at:

    1800 856 824 or restore@unimelb.edu.au.

    Defence mental health professionals and medical officers can also contact the ADF Centre for Mental Health if they would like to find out more about this trial: adf.cmh@defence.gov.au.


    More Information

    More information about the trial can be found at the following link: phoenixaustralia.org/restore.