Development of a Brief Adjunctive Intervention for Family Members of Veterans in Individual PTSD Treatment

Johanna Thompson-Hollands*, Michele Strage, Ellen R. DeVoe, Rinad S. Beidas, Denise M. Sloan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Family involvement in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans has the potential to improve treatment retention and outcomes. Current protocols that incorporate family members into treatment tend to involve at least 15 sessions, and none are designed to complement Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE), the two most widely used and heavily promoted evidence-based PTSD therapies in the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. The current paper describes the development and initial feasibility and acceptability of a Brief Family Intervention (the BFI) designed to be delivered as an adjunct to veterans’ individual CPT/PE. The BFI focuses on providing psychoeducation about PTSD and treatment, building family member support for treatment, and reducing family symptom accommodation. A detailed review of the treatment structure and activities is provided, and qualitative data from four dyads (veterans and their spouses/significant others) at baseline and post-intervention are presented. Veterans and partners reported positive responses to the program and were enthusiastic about its utility. Larger randomized controlled studies will be needed to determine the protocol's efficacy and effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2021


  • PTSD
  • family treatment
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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