Systemic psychotherapy as an intervention for post-traumatic stress responses: an introduction, theoretical rationale and overview of developments in an emerging field of interest



The purpose of this article is to critically examine the literature to provide a rationale for including systemic family therapy (SFT) in the psycho-social treatment of people suffering the impact of post-traumatic stress (PTS). Attention is drawn to the relatively underdeveloped academic literature on PTS and the family. The impact of PTS is conceptualized within a psycho-social framework and the current evidence base for psycho-social interventions for PTS responses is described, highlighting the opportunity and need to undergird this area of daily practice. The impact of PTS on the family at multiple levels is identified, emphasizing its recursive nature. The case for SFT is articulated and a range of models of family intervention for PTS briefly reviewed, concluding with an emphasis on Walsh's key processes in family resilience as a framework for practice.