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PTSD Bytes #17: PTSD and relationships

In this episode of PTSD Bytes, host Pearl McGee-Vincent discusses PTSD and relationships with Dr. Leslie Morland and Dr. Kayla Knopp, clinical and research psychologists at San Diego VA. Listen to “#17: PTSD and Relationships” on Spreaker. How PTSD can impact a relationship One person having PTSD can affect both partners in a relationship. Morland says symptoms of PTSD can affect a couple’s communication and problem-solving. PTSD symptoms can also impact their ability to connect emotionally and be intimate, which can create emotional distance between the couple. Knopp says that all types of relationships can be affected by PTSD symptoms, including couples who are married or unmarried, same-gender or mixed-gender, and long-term or short-term. Understanding a partner’s experience of PTSD can help with these issues. In the below video, a Veteran describes how PTSD caused problems with intimacy: [fusion_youtube id=”g7sJQbC_kaE” alignment=”center” width=”1120″ height=”630″ autoplay=”false” api_params=”&rel=0″ title_attribute=”” video_facade=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” css_id=””][/fusion_youtube] Help for couples affected by PTSD Couples suffering from the effects of PTSD symptoms on their relationship can seek couples therapy for help. Ideally, the therapist will also be trained to work with PTSD symptoms. However, couples therapy may not be available to all couples. In-person therapy requires more coordination, such as of schedules, transportation or childcare duties. Digital tools can help with these logistics. For example, partners can attend couples therapy via telehealth, so there is no need to figure out transportation. Other digital tools, such as apps and online programs, can be used without a therapist. These tools can provide evidence-based strategies and education about PTSD and relationships. Since these digital tools can be used at the couple’s convenience, they provide more flexibility. For couples looking for a more intensive tool, in-person or telehealth couples therapy is probably the better option. How couples can get help Knopp says that the National Center for PTSD’s website is a good place for couples to start looking for guidance. The National Center for PTSD also offers free mobile apps that can be helpful for couples. PTSD Family Coach provides information and strategies for family members of people suffering from PTSD. Couples Coach is specifically designed for people struggling with PTSD and their partners. Both partners can use the app together and work on improving their relationship. Couples coach in 60 seconds video: If interested in therapy at VA, Morland says VA offers family mental health programs and providers specifically trained in couples therapy. If a professional is not available at your local VA, they will refer you to a professional within your community. Additional links More information for Partners of Veterans with PTSD on the National Center for PTSD website. More videos of Veterans, family members and clinicians talking how PTSD affects the people you love. More PTSD Bytes episodes. If you are a Veteran who is experiencing a crisis or supporting a loved one who is, dial 988 then press 1 for immediate assistance, or chat online at

PTSD Bytes #17: PTSD and relationships

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