A couple-based approach to the reduction of PTSD avoidance symptoms: preliminary findings

J Marital Fam Ther. 2009 Jul;35(3):343-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2009.00125.x.


This study reports preliminary findings regarding the feasibility and efficacy of a novel couple-based treatment, named Strategic Approach Therapy (SAT), for reducing avoidance symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Six male Vietnam combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD and their cohabitating marital partners participated in 10 weeks of SAT treatment. Self-report, clinician ratings, and partner ratings of PTSD symptoms were obtained before the first session and after the tenth session of treatment. Veterans reported statistically significant reductions in self-reported, clinician-rated, and partner-rated effortful avoidance, emotional numbing, and overall PTSD severity. These data indicate that SAT offers promise as an effective treatment for PTSD avoidance symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Arousal
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Combat Disorders / therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Marital Therapy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment
  • Veterans / psychology*