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In the initial days and weeks after a traumatic event such as physical or sexual assaults, terrorist attacks, severe accidents, disasters, or war zone experiences, most people will experience at least some symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as intrusive memories, sleep disturbance, feeling emotionally numb, or being easily startled. Most people will recover in the following months, but for some the symptoms persist, often for years. What prevents these people from recovering? Cognitive behavioral theories of PTSD have identified factors that prevent change and can be successfully addressed in cognitive behavior therapy. The personal meanings of trauma and their close relationship with features of trauma memories are central to Ehlers and Clark's cognitive model of PTSD. This chapter describes this model in greater detail as an example that illustrates the close link between theory and practice in evidence-based trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT) programs. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original publication





Book title

Handbook of cognitive behavioral therapy: Applications


American Psychological Association

Publication Date



99 - 147