Couples therapy for PTSD

couple

A researcher at Ryerson University has identified a successful way to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their partners by using a modified type of couples talk therapy. The therapy reduces symptoms and improves the couples’ relationship.

Partners of those with PTSD suffer too

Other studies have shown that the mental health condition of those with PTSD puts a strain on personal relationships. While individual therapies have been developed to treat PTSD, the idea of couples therapy to treat the PTSD of one of the pair is a new idea.

“Now, there is an increasing recognition that intimate relationships can play a vital role in the path to recovery for those with PTSD, and that relationships can improve along that path,” said Dr. Candice Monson, a professor at Ryerson University’s Department of Psychology and the lead author.

Cognitive behavioral conjoint therapy tested

The four year study involved 40 couples in which one partner had been diagnosed with PTSD. The couples were randomly split into two groups. Both groups were allowed to continue psycho-pharmacological regimen and non-PTSD related therapies. One group received cognitive behavioral conjoint therapy (CBCT) developed by Dr. Monson and Dr. Fredman. The other group was put on a three month wait list for the same treatment.

Very successful, reducing PTSD symptoms, depression and anger

CBCT is designed to reduce symptoms of PTSD and improve intimate relationships. There are 15 sessions over 3 phases. Couples meet with a therapist twice a week for the first two phases then one time per week for the final phase.

Results found that 81% of those who received CBCT showed significant improved with PTSD symptoms. As many as 62% reported improvement in the relationship. They also reported less depression, anger and anxiety.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, JAMA

 
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