Author Information

Julie Boucher


This study addresses the question, what is the most effective treatment method for female veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Female veterans experience unique difficulties when dealing with symptoms of PTSD that their male counterparts do not. Some of the causes of their PTSD are different as well. Evidence suggests that treatment programs should be developed in a manner that tailors to gender-specific needs. This research consisted of a thorough review of the literature, including peer- reviewed articles.

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the top three conventional treatment methods for veterans with PTSD and analyze them according to the particular needs of female veterans. The top three treatments are addressed in detail. Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are the most widely used therapies by the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) for female veterans of OIF and OEF with PTSD. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is close behind. PE consists of four major parts: psycho-education, breathing skills, real-world practice, and talking through the trauma repeatedly. CBT is a psychotherapeutic treatment that addresses dysfunctional thoughts and feelings that occur from PTSD. EMDR is a form of psychotherapy with eight phases, each dedicated to tackling the current symptoms and the triggers that the patient experiences.

Note on the Author

Julie Boucher is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Social Welfare. Her research on women veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder was completed under the mentorship of Dr. Arnaa Alcon of the Social Work department. This research is a continuation of work presented at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Ogden, UT; and was recently presented at the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Lexington, KY.

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