A clinician’s guide to PTSD treatments for returning veterans


What options are available to mental health providers helping clients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? In this paper we review many of the current pharmacological and psychological interventions available to help prevent and treat PTSD with an emphasis on combat-related traumas and veteran populations. There is strong evidence supporting the use of several therapies including prolonged exposure (PE), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and cognitive processing therapies (CPT), with PE possessing the most empirical evidence in favor of its efficacy. There have been relatively fewer studies of nonexposure based modalities (e.g., psychodynamic, interpersonal, and dialectical behavior therapy perspectives), but there is no evidence that these treatments are less effective. Pharmacotherapy is promising (especially paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine), but more research comparing the relative merits of medication vs. psychotherapy and the efficacy of combined treatments is needed. Given the recent influx of combat-related traumas due to ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is clearly an urgent need to conduct more randomized clinical trials research and effectiveness studies in military and Department of Veterans Affairs PTSD samples. Finally, we provide references to a number of PTSD treatment manuals and propose several recommendations to help guide clinicians’ treatment selections.






Brian A. Sharpless
Jacques P. Barber

Original Work Citation

Sharpless, B. A., & Barber, J. P. (2011). A clinician?s guide to PTSD treatments for returning veterans. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 42(1), 8?15. doi:10.1037/a0022351



“A clinician’s guide to PTSD treatments for returning veterans,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 27, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/20747.

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