There is increasing recognition that combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects the service member or veteran who experienced the trauma, his or her partner, and their relationship more broadly. Reactions by partners and other loved ones can also serve as impediments to, or facilitators of, recovery in the wake of trauma exposure. In this article, we highlight research findings related to the association between PTSD symptoms and intimate relationship functioning in service members and veterans from the current conflicts and describe the application of cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD (CBCT for PTSD; Monson & Fredman, 2012), a disorder-specific couple therapy designed to simultaneously decrease PTSD symptoms and enhance intimate relationship functioning, to a veteran with combat-related PTSD and his wife. We conclude by discussing the powerful role that partners can play in helping individuals with combat-related PTSD recover from the disorder through improved communication, decreased couple-level avoidance, and modification of cognitions held by either member of the couple that can maintain PTSD symptoms and/or relationship distress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology