, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 209-224

Treating post traumatic stress disorder couples: A psychoeducational program

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The effects of veterans' war-related emotional disorders on wives has received little attention in the literature on families and family therapy. Clinical evidence shows devastating effects of combat-related psychopathology on the marriage relationship. Post-traumatic stress disorder can result in chronic marital distress, in addition to veteran disabilities. It is contended here that a clinical couples' therapy model fails to address the specific needs of this population of couples. A cognitive-behavioral analysis of the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on couple functioning is presented as well as a rationale for treatment based on psychoeducational, cognitive-behavioral, and self-help principles. This paper reviews an experimental program carried out in Israel designed to reach and treat the PTSD couple.

The program described in this paper was carried out under the auspices of the Mental Health Department, IDF Medical Corps, and was planned and executed by a team headed by Lt. Col. Chen Nardi and Dr. Yohanan Wozner. The author wish to thank Major Zehava Solomon, Ph.D., Professor Shimon Spiro and Col. Moshe Kotler, M.D., Head of Mental Health IDF Medical Corps, for their contribution to this paper.