Psychosocial therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder

J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;67 Suppl 2:40-5.


Immediately after experiencing a traumatic event, many people have symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If trauma victims restrict their routine and systematically avoid reminders of the incident, symptoms of PTSD are more likely to become chronic. Several clinical studies have shown that programs of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in the management of patients with PTSD. Prolonged exposure (PE) therapy-a specific form of exposure therapy-can provide benefits, as can stress inoculation training (SIT) and cognitive therapy (CT). PE is not enhanced by the addition of SIT or CT. PE therapy is a safe treatment that is accepted by patients, and benefits remain apparent after treatment programs have finished. Nonspecialists can be taught to practice effective CBT. For the treatment of large numbers of patients, or for use in centers where CBT has not been routinely employed previously, appropriate training of mental health professionals should be performed. Methods used for the dissemination of CBT to nonspecialists need to be modified to meet the requirements of countries affected by the Asian tsunami. This will entail the use of culturally sensitive materials and the adaptation of training methods to enable large numbers of mental health professionals to be trained together.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / education
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Aversive Therapy / methods
  • Behavior Therapy / education
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / education
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Combat Disorders / therapy
  • Disasters
  • Humans
  • Implosive Therapy / methods
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome