Key Elements in Couples Therapy with Veterans with Combat-Related PTSD

Although clinicians have long been encouraged to include families in the treatment of PTSD, few specific couple/family therapies exist. Because of the adverse effects of PTSD on relationships, couples therapy can be a powerful adjunct treatment. A new framework for conceptualizing couples therapy organizes treatment around the 3 PTSD symptom clusters (re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal). The authors summarize the relationship consequences of each symptom cluster and provide specific treatment interventions and a case study as an illustration.

Target audience:  Psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, addiction counselors, nurses

This CE program is designated as intermediate.


Learning Objectives

Upon completing this program, participants should be able to

  • Describe the rationale for including partners in the treatment of PTSD.
  • Identify ways to implement effective therapy with couples.
  • Print Version / Test Preview
  • Part 1: Introduction
  • Part 2: Rationale for Including Family Members in Treatment
  • Part 3: Rationale for Intervening at the Relational Level
  • Part 4: Previous Programs
  • Part 5: New Framework
  • Part 6: Re-experiencing Symptoms
  • Part 7: Avoidance
  • Part 8: Increased Arousal
  • Part 9: Case Study
  • Part 10: Implications for Practice
  • Part 11: References
  • CE Test
  • Evaluation

Michelle D. Sherman received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1997. She is employed by the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and affiliated with the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center and the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Areas of research interest include family issues surrounding serious mental illness (especially posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]) and couples–family psychotherapy.

Dona K. Zanotti received her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of North Dakota in 1998. She is employed by the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and is affiliated with the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Areas of research interest include PTSD and substance dependence.

Dan E. Jones received his PhD in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1989. He is employed by the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and is affiliated with the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Areas of research interest include anxiety disorders, especially PTSD.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michelle D. Sherman, Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 921 Northeast13thStreet,OklahomaCity,OK73104.E-ail:michelle.sherman@med.va.gov

APA approved, Yo! At Health is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. At Health maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

At Health is an approved provider of the California Board of Behavior Sciences (PCE 3319). These courses meet the qualifications for continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

At Health is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN), Provider # CEP 15512.

California Licensed Vocational Nurses and California Psychiatric Technicians can take online courses by California Board of Registered Nursing (CA BRN) approved providers, such as At Health, to fulfill their CE requirements.

NBCC approved, Yo! At Health, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6719. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  At Health, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Programs are available for continuing education credit for social workers through the co-sponsorship of At Health, Inc., and Amedco, LLC.  Amedco, #1346, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Amedco maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 6/24/2016 to 6/24/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. The following recognize the ASWB program: AB, AK, AL, AR, AZ, BC, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA (PA requires that courses be at least 2 credits), RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, and WY.  Participants must pass a posttest with a score of 80% or higher and complete an attendance/evaluation form in order to receive a certificate of completion/attendance.

Athealth.com is an approved provider of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #908.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social work in Arkansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, master's level psychologists, licensed clinical psychotherapists, and alcohol and other drug abuse counselors in Kansas.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for mental health practice and for social work in Nebraska.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for psychologists, pastoral psychotherapists, clinical social workers, clinical mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and alcohol and drug abuse counselors in New Hampshire.

These programs meet the criteria of an approved continuing education program for social workers, professional counselors, marital and family therapists, and clinical pastoral therapists in Tennessee.

NAADAC_logoAthealth.com is approved as a continuing education provider by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) Provider #148460 (Exp. August 1, 2017).

The above CE sponsorships are honored by many additional state boards of social work, marriage and family therapy, and licensed professional counseling. Some restrictions may apply. Check with your state board or certifying organization to find out if online courses or home study are accepted as part of your continuing education requirement for license renewal or re-certification, or call At Health at 888-284-3258 for information regarding CE approvals.

Page last modified on July 27, 2016

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Type: Text    Credits: 1 CE    Price: $12   Refund Policy
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