Three American Troops in Iraq: Evaluation of a Brief Exposure Therapy Treatment


  • Jeffrey A. Cigrang Wright-Patterson Medical Center, Dayton, Ohio
  • Alan L. Peterson Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas
  • Richard P. Schobitz Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii



Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), exposure therapy prevention, Iraq War, military settings, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)


Relatively little research has been devoted to developing empirically-supported interventions for the secondary prevention of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (i.e., for individuals who have developed PTSD symptoms but not the full PTSD disorder). One-session psychological debriefing has been routinely used as a primary preventive intervention for individuals exposed to trauma, but the appropriateness of this practice has been questioned. The authors describe an alternative, secondary prevention model of brief exposure-based treatment using three cases of military members seeking help at a forward-deployed medical clinic in Iraq for PTSD symptoms following combat-related traumas. Treatment involved repeated imaginal exposure and in vivo exposure conducted in four therapy sessions over a five-week period. Baseline measures on the PTSD Checklist were at a level that is considered to be in the range of PTSD. The results indicated that after four treatment sessions, PTSD symptoms were reduced by an average of 56%, and the final PTSD Checklist scores were within normal limits. The results suggest that prolonged exposure therapy may be a rapid individual treatment for the secondary prevention of combat-related PTSD.




How to Cite

Cigrang, J. A., Peterson, A. L., & Schobitz, R. P. (2005). Three American Troops in Iraq: Evaluation of a Brief Exposure Therapy Treatment. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 1(2).