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J Clin Psychol. 2012 May;68(5):561-9. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21853. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

United we stand: emotionally focused therapy for couples in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Department of Psychoeducation and Psychology, University of Québec in Outaouais, Gatineau, QC, Canada.


We present emotionally focused therapy (EFT) for couples as a viable treatment option for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We outline the empirical evidence of a link between interpersonal relationships and posttraumatic stress, with an emphasis on social support as a buffer for the development of PTSD symptoms. This leads into a discussion of the usefulness of attachment theory in the conceptualization and treatment of PTSD, followed by a description of the EFT approach and its empirical evidence. We present a clinical case with excerpts from EFT couple therapy sessions in which one partner was diagnosed with PTSD. The article concludes with clinical recommendations for helping people confront and overcome the pain and the fear that PTSD provokes.

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