Effective psychotherapies for posttraumatic stress disorder: a review and critique

CNS Spectr. 2009 Jan;14(1 Suppl 1):32-43.


This report reviews and critiques the psychotherapy literature for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and systematically presents data on sample size, rates of completion and effect sizes. Substantial progress has been made in the use of cognitive behavioral therapies and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for the resolution of PTSD. Innovations in PTSD treatments are identified. Further advances are needed in the treatment of populations with complex and chronic forms of PTSD such as those found in childhood abuse populations, refugee populations, and those experiencing chronic mental illness. The need to address comorbid emotional, social, and physical health consequences of trauma, to implement treatments in community-based settings, and to incorporate larger systems of care into study designs is noted.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Desensitization, Psychologic / methods
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Therapies, Investigational / methods