The impact of early trauma on response to psychotherapy

W. Edward Craighead, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The primary thesis of this paper is that most patients who have experienced sexual abuse or early loss of a parent are optimally treated with psychotherapy as a core component of their treatment, though pharmacotherapy is often also required. We briefly review the prevalence and clinical sequelae of early sexual abuse and parental loss. Then, we present an overview of a biopsychosocial model that can inform and guide clinical practice and serve as a heuristic framework for clinical research. We review the extant outcome studies with a focus on controlled clinical trials. We conclude with some practical clinical suggestions based on our experiences with treatment that combines psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for patients who have suffered from complex clinical syndromes secondary to abuse and parental loss during critical developmental periods of their lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neuroscience Research
Issue number5-6 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Parental loss
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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