Brief psychodynamic treatment of PTSD


  • Janice L. Krupnick

    Corresponding author
    1. Georgetown University
    • Janice L. Krupnick, Department of Psychiatry, Georgetown University, 311 Kober-Cogan Hall, 3800 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007
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This article describes a brief psychodynamic psychotherapy for adults suffering from PTSD following exposure to a single traumatic event, such as tragic bereavement, assault, or loss of a body part through surgery. It uses a supportive therapeutic relationship to uncover what the specific event and circumstances that follow mean to the individual and the obstacles to normal psychological processing of these events. Using this 12-session treatment model, therapists pay particular attention to the individual's current phase of response and the typical ways that the individual avoids threatening information. Making links among the recent trauma, earlier developmental experiences that may have rendered the individual vulnerable to the development of PTSD, and ways that conflicts are reenacted in the therapeutic dyad, dynamic therapists seek to help traumatized individuals re-establish a sense of coherence and meaning in their lives. A case illustration is provided to demonstrate the phases and techniques in this approach. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol/In Session 58: 919–932, 2002