Psychological interventions for trauma exposure and PTSD


Psychological interventions are a first-line treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most international treatment guidelines, including those in the UK, the USA, and Australia, converge on the conclusion that trauma-focused psychotherapy is the treatment of choice relative to other modalities. This chapter reviews the background and rationale for trauma-focused psychotherapy, outlines the evidence for the major variants of psychological interventions and discusses clinical guidelines for implementing these interventions with patients suffering PTSD. Trauma-focused therapies have been the focus of many well-controlled studies in the past two decades. The convergent finding across many of these studies is that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and the lesser-studied eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), have proven efficacy in reducing PTSD symptoms and increasing functioning and/or quality of life. There is agreement internationally that trauma-focused therapies are the treatment of choice for PTSD. Despite their success, we need to recognise some important limitations in our current knowledge. Many patients do not respond adequately to these therapies, and there is a need to explore means to augment or modify trauma-focused therapies to increase the number of patients who do respond. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)


Book Section




Richard A. Bryant

Original Work Citation

Bryant, R. A. (2011). Psychological interventions for trauma exposure and PTSD. In Dan J. Stein, Matthew J. Friedman, & Carlos Blanco (eds.), Post-traumatic stress disorder (pp. 171-202). Chichester, West Sussex, UK : John Wiley & Sons



“Psychological interventions for trauma exposure and PTSD,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2020,

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