Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic

The PTSD research clinic spans primary and secondary care, to improve outcomes for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), by increasing access to evidence-informed treatments, and supporting researchers to learn what treatments work for whom.

It is led by Dr Nick Grey, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Associate Director of Psychological Professions.

The clinic does NOT accept direct referrals and it does not offer treatments itself. The clinic is embedded in established Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT) services, where it evaluates the treatments offered for those with PTSD and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD).

This page is separated into three sections for ease of reading. These sections are: About the Clinic, Info on PTSD and Complex PTSD, and Local Support.

1. About the Clinic

We are looking at the outcomes of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (tf-CBT), the evidence-based psychological therapies for PTSD. There are not clear guidelines currently regarding who should be offered which treatment. We will also look at the impact of face-to-face vs remote delivery. This is using existing routinely collected data.

PTSD National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Guidelines

NHS Talking Therapies


This project will seek to increase the offer of Compassionate Resilience groups (CRG) for people who meet criteria for Complex PTSD. CRG is an evidence-informed psychological therapy provided by appropriately trained registered practitioners. Initial evaluations of this treatment have been conducted by the Berkshire Trauma Service, led by Dr Deborah Lee, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, the developer of CRG.

Compassionate Resilience derives from the Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) approach, initially developed to treat shame, self-loathing, and self-criticism. CFT is useful to treat different conditions such as anxiety, depression, psychosis and trauma. The goal of CFT is to alleviate your own suffering by developing your own care-giving (compassion) system, which includes developing non-judgement, warmth, kindness, wisdom, empathy and moral courage.

As outlined above, the PTSD clinic does NOT accept direct referrals as it is a research clinic embedded in SPFT services; however, if you are interested in CRG and would like to know where you can access it through the NHS, there are a number of practitioners trained in CFT within Assessment and Treatment Services across West and East Sussex (but not in Brighton and Hove) who may offer you a place in a CRG, after carrying out a suitability assessment and provided that you meet criteria of PTSD/ complex PTSD. The groups are run online, and there are trained practitioners in ATS within the following localities: North West Sussex, Eastbourne, High Weald, Lewes, and Havens, Hastings and Rother. Depending on where you live, you can ask your GP to be referred into your local ATS.

Useful links and material about CFT and CR:

Introducing compassion-focused therapy | Advances in Psychiatric Treatment | Cambridge Core

Developing Compassionate Resilience (Good practice points from Health Education England)

An Introduction to Concepts and Compassion-Focused Exercises (Paul Gilbert)


The Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) for the PTSD clinic is a group of people with experience of PTSD who are actively involved and/or support the work of the clinic. The LEAP for PTSD is led by Chloë Elsby-Pearson.

The group meet periodically to help clinicians and researchers improve the quality and accessibility of services and support available for PTSD, and to develop new research about PTSD.

If you are interested in joining our LEAP or would like to find out more about how to get involved in research for PTSD, please email: or

2. Info on PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is caused by distressing and extremely frightening events. There are three groups of problems in PTSD:

're-experiencing' of the memories through flashbacks or nightmaresavoidance of feelings, thoughts (internal avoidance) and people, places etc that act as reminders of the events (external avoidance); and 'hyperarousal', such as being especially alert and/or being very jumpy.

It is common for people with PTSD to experience feelings of isolation, guilt, shame and anger. PTSD can also impact your sleep and concentration throughout day to day activities. PTSD symptoms are often severe and persistent, causing a significant impact on the person's life.

It is common for PTSD to develop much later than the stressful event (months or even years after).

More information about PTSD can be found here.

In addition to the three core PTSD problem areas listed above, people with complex PTSD might experience:

  • Problems in maintaining relationships
  • Seeing yourself as worthless and defeated
  • Problems in managing emotions

Complex PTSD is more common if you have experienced or have been exposed to repeated traumatic situations, such as persistent abuse or violence, and/or severe neglect.

Complex PTSD has similar symptoms to PTSD, and it can also develop years after the event(s).

More information about complex PTSD can be found here

3. Local Support

If you are feeling unsafe and experiencing an emergency such as suicidal thoughts due to your symptoms of PTSD, please contact your clinical care team or alternatively the following emergency numbers 24 hours a day, 7 days out of seven:

Dial 999 if your situation is a health emergency

Call NHS 111 and select option 2 or dial 0800 0309 500 (Sussex Mental Healthline :: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust)


If you aren't in need of immediate treatment, but would still like to access help and support and you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD such as distressing flashbacks or nightmares, please speak to your GP, who can signpost you to useful resources and refer you to psychological services that are available in your area, such as Assessment and Treatment Services (available across Sussex), where you can receive specialist help for PTSD. The PTSD clinic works in partnership with ATS services where, depending on where you live, you might be offered a place in a Compassionate Resilience group (see above) after a suitability assessment carried out by a trained practitioner.

You can also refer yourself directly into NHS Talking Therapies services, where evidence based psychological therapies for PTSD are available. You can find your local service here. Our local services are in West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, and East Sussex  

Please note that we are not able to correctly estimate wait times in any of the above services.

Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is care that considers the impact of a person’s difficult life experiences and uses this to help us find ways for present day care to be effective and accessible. The NHS Long Term Plan states that mental health services should be trauma-informed. This is an approach that applies to all services. The principles are not limited to those people who meet criteria for PTSD or Complex PTSD. There are developments in the Trust to help our services and systems become trauma informed. This work is led by Dr Celia Lesquerre, Associate Director of Psychological Professions.

In the UK, Scotland is the furthest advanced in developing trauma informed approaches. NHS Education for Scotland’s free materials are available here.