The need for new directions in psychotherapy for PTSD


The trauma field can be proud of having evidence-based effective psychotherapy protocols for PTSD. Especially CBT and EMDR have been recognized as first choice treatments (NICE Guidelines 2005). However, having these protocols available new questions that need to be answered are emerging. There is no large scale evidence yet on phase 4 implementation showing its effectiveness. Too many patients drop out of treatment. Many patients suffer from comorbid conditions. The question on how research outcomes on the biology of PTSD should be translated into different psychotherapeutic approaches is a rather new one. Especially, is habituation still the correct fundament of exposure in PTSD, or should it be replaced by the concept of extinction? A third question is the mixed feeling in many societies about the concept of PTSD and it´s consequences in the need for treatment. Especially after disasters, but also after domestic violence, treatment can be seen as the avoidance of society to punish the responsible ones or to ask for material compensation. These questions will lead to find new directions for the psychotherapy protocols, for the combination with biological routes of intervention and for the societal acceptance of treatment for PTSD.






Berthold Gersons
Ulrich Schnyder
Barbara Rothbaum
Alexander McFarlane

Original Work Citation

Gersons, B., Schnyder, U., Rothbaum, B., & McFarlane, A. (2006, November). The need for new directions in psychotherapy for PTSD. Panel presentation at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 22nd Annual Meeting, Hollywood, CA



“The need for new directions in psychotherapy for PTSD,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 19, 2021,

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