Couple therapy with combat veterans and their partners

Christopher R Erbes, Melissa A Polusny, Shelley MacDermid, Jill S. Compton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan lace psychological challenges that can exert profound effects on families and couples, but can also be treated within a systemic context. Couple therapy offers a means of increasing social support, decreasing interpersonal conflict, and addressing the experiential avoidance that maintains posttraumatic symptoms. For combat veterans and their partners, we present an adaptation of integrative behavioral couple therapy (IBCT) that reduces conflict and encourages intimacy through acceptance and skills strategies. By doing so, IBCT exposes service members in couple therapy to emotions, interpersonal situations, and activities that facilitate recovery from combat-related distress. We illustrate common presenting problems in this population and the utilization of IBCT with a case example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)972-983
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of clinical psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


  • Combat
  • Couple therapy
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Psychotherapy
  • Veterans


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