Category: Military and Veterans Psychology

Mini Workshop

Mini Workshop 10 - Targeting Military Trauma With Adaptive Disclosure

Friday, November 17
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Sapphire 410, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Military | Trauma | Evidence-Based Practice
Presentation Type: Mini Workshop
Level of Familiarity: Moderate

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from war-zone exposure is associated with chronic and disabling social and occupational problems. Although first-line CBT treatments for PTSD are highly effective with civilian trauma survivors, these therapies were not designed to treat survivors of military trauma and have been shown to work less well for veterans (Watts et al., 2013). We have argued that this may be due to the one-size-fits all fear- and victimization-emphasis of current CBT models, and a lack of attention to the unique cultural context of military trauma. This mini-workshop will introduce participants to Adaptive Disclosure (AD), a 12-session manualized psychotherapy that employs CBT and evidence-based principles specifically tailored to war trauma. Participants will gain practical knowledge about the military context and warrior ethos, along with a framework for leveraging this knowledge to provide culturally tailored individualized treatment for diverse war traumas. We will describe the basic change agents of AD, which include exposure therapy techniques coupled with emotion-focused experiential imaginal real-time dialogues designed to promote adaptive change about the meaning and implication of three phenomenologically distinct forms of war trauma: (a) life threat; (b) moral injury, that is, traumatic experiences that violate moral or ethical standards; and (c) traumatic loss. In the case of loss, the emotional dialogue is with the lost comrade. In the case of moral injury, the dialogue is with a compassionate moral authority. We will also provide training about loving-kindness meditation-based compassion training and behavioral contracting recently incorporated into AD to promote exposure to corrective experiences. These therapy strategies can be incorporated into existing treatments or used as a stand-alone therapy.

Learning Objectives:


Recommended Reading: Auszra, L., Greenberg, L. S., & Herrmann, I. (2013). Client emotional productivity—optimal client in-session emotional processing in experiential therapy. Psychotherapy Research, 23(6), 732-746.
Litz, B. T., Leslie, L., Gray, M. J., & Nash, W. P. (2015). Adaptive disclosure: A new treatment for military trauma, loss, and moral injury. New York: Guilford.
Watts, B. V., Schnurr, P. P., Mayo, L., Young-Xu, Y., Weeks, W. B., & Friedman, M. J. (2013). Meta-analysis of the efficacy of treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 74(6), 541-550.

Brett Litz

Professor, Clinical Psychologist
VA Boston Healthcare System

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Danielle Berke

VA Boston Healthcare System

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Julie Yeterian

Postdoctoral Fellow
VA Boston Healthcare System

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Matt Gray

Full Professor, Psychology
University of Wyoming

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