Category: Treatment - CBT


Symposium 108 - Innovations in CBT for Active Duty Military Personnel

Saturday, November 18
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Aqua Salon E & F, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: CBT | Treatment Development | Military
Presentation Type: Symposium

United States military personnel are more likely than civilians to experience mental health problems. Recent estimates suggest 1 in 4 U.S. Army soldiers meet criteria for a mental health disorder, one of the most common being posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Suicide rates among U.S. military personnel have more than doubled since 2002. And, military personnel are at increased risk for relationship problems including divorce and infidelity and to experience stressors such as chronic pain due to their demanding careers.

Despite increased rates of mental health problems, there are substantial barriers to military personnel accessing treatment, including stigma, access to care, and availability of empirically supported treatments. Thus, the need for novel mechanisms of delivery and new approaches to treatment for this population is becoming increasingly evident. The presenters in this symposium seek to move the literature forward by describing ways in which empirically supported cognitive behavioral treatments can be adapted to address known barriers to care, improve upon existing treatment strategies, and apply to military populations. Each of the 4 presenters discuss the development, implementation, and efficacy of interventions targeting some of the most common and significant difficulties facing military personnel: chronic pain, PTSD, suicide, and sexual infidelity.

In the first presentation, Emmanuel Espejo will describe an interdisciplinary collaborative intervention combining Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, physical rehabilitation, and medication management for chronic pain, which improves on existing pharmacological treatments that rarely result in long-term benefit. In the second presentation, Craig Bryan will discuss the adaptation of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) into a two-week long daily treatment that reduces the several month long process of engaging in traditional weekly CPT, which can be a barrier to treatment among active duty populations. Third, Marjan Ghahramanlou-Holloway will describe a brief cognitive therapy intervention for inpatient service members at acute risk for suicide, with important implications for the prevention of suicide, one of the most significant mental health problems facing the military. Fourth, Douglas Snyder extends a civilian treatment for sexual infidelity to the military population delivered by Army chaplains, who are often considered preferred and less stigmatized sources of assistance for marital problems among military personnel. Finally, as discussant, David Riggs, executive director of the Center for Deployment Psychology and trainer of cognitive behavioral therapy for providers in active duty settings, offers comments on the themes and interventions described across these presentations.


Learning Objectives:

Feea R. Leifker

University of Utah


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    David Riggs

    Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences


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      Emmanuel Espejo

      Naval Medical Center San Diego


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      Craig Bryan

      Executive Director & Associate Professor
      National Center for Veterans Studies at The University of Utah


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      Marjan Ghahramanlou-Holloway

      Associate Professor
      Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences


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      Send Email for Douglas Snyder


      Symposium 108 - Innovations in CBT for Active Duty Military Personnel

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