Present- and Trauma-Focused Cognitive–Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Study

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Abstract

The bidirectional association between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and intimate relationship functioning has been well established, and conjoint therapies for PTSD have been created to simultaneously improve PTSD and relationship distress. However, some couples are unwilling to participate in trauma-focused therapy; therefore, a present-focused version of cognitive–behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD (pf-CBCT for PTSD) was created to decrease barriers to treatment. We propose that, along with trauma-focused cognitive–behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD (CBCT for PTSD), pf-CBCT for PTSD can be used as part of a sequential approach to PTSD treatment. The various phases of pf-CBCT for PTSD and CBCT for PTSD may be flexibly delivered according to a particular couple’s unique needs and preferences. We present a case study to illustrate this approach of using both pf-CBCT for PTSD and CBCT for PTSD with trauma-focused sessions. The case study describes conjoint treatment of a woman with PTSD related to childhood sexual abuse and her cohabiting partner of 25 years. Discussion provides additional clinical considerations and directions for future research.

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