Acute Stress Disorder and Forms of Narrative Disruption


  • Joseph M. Currier Memphis Veteran's Administration Medical Center



trauma, acute stress disorder (ASD), narrative therapy, constructivism, exposure, narrative disruption in ASD


Intervening with persons in the immediate aftermath of potentially traumatic events poses a number challenges for clinicians. Particularly in clinics that serve military personnel or other populations whose livelihoods may depend on regaining functioning efficiently following trauma, there is a need for sensitive and effective psychotherapies for acute stress disorder (ASD), a diagnostic category which attempts to capture maladaptive responses to trauma within the initial four weeks. In this context, Palgi and Ben-Ezra (2010) developed "Back to the Future," a novel treatment for ASD guided by narrative and constructivist understandings of posttraumatic adjustment (e.g., Neimeyer, 2009; White & Epston, 1990). One of the distinctive aspects of Palgi and Ben-Ezra's approach involves a departure from exposure-oriented models of psychotherapy so as not to strengthen the substantive core of the traumatic experience for the survivor -- called the "traumatic nucleus" -- in the early adjustment period. My discussion of Palgi and Ben-Ezra's case of Mr. G and related general issues uses a framework of three common forms of narrative disruption after trauma. Specifically, I first discuss "narrative dominance" as a particular strength of the Back to the Future

Author Biography

Joseph M. Currier, Memphis Veteran's Administration Medical Center

Man Fishman, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy Professor of Clinical and Organizational Psychology Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Rutgers University Mailing address: 57 Jaffray Court Irvington, NY 10533 914-693-8549 fax: 603-917-2567 email:




How to Cite

Currier, J. M. (2010). Acute Stress Disorder and Forms of Narrative Disruption. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 6(1), 34–42.