Psychosocial Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(suppl 2):40-45
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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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.