International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Early Interventions SIG


  • Convene meetings at ISTSS Annual Conferences, and arrange presentations and/or workshops at those meetings;
  • Gather information about current developments in and publications related to early intervention;
  • Facilitate networking and collaboration among interested ISTSS members, by establishing an email list; and
  • Generally, promote study, development, and application of effective early interventions to prevent development of PTSD and other trauma-related problems.

Brief Background and Rationale

Although most human service professionals believe in the importance of early intervention post-trauma to prevent development of chronic psychological problems, there is little agreement as to the appropriate forms of care. A range of psychological interventions has been advocated for use with various traumatized populations within days or weeks of their trauma exposure, including education about trauma and stress reactions, training in stress-management, critical incident stress debriefing (CISD), cognitive-behavioral brief intervention packages, EMDR, and psychopharmacological interventions. Currently, prospective research studying response to trauma and beginning within hours or days of the traumatic event is increasing rapidly, and a number of recent publications have suggested the potential utility of early interventions in preventing development of PTSD (e.g., Foa, Hearst-Ikeda, & Perry, 1995; Bryant, Harvey, Dang, Sackville, & Basten, 1998). Recent support for such interventions is occurring at the same time that the utility of debriefing procedures is being subjected to increased scrutiny (ISTSS Practice Guidelines on Acute Intervention and Debriefing; Raphael, Meldrum, & McFarlane, 1995; Rose & Bisson, 1998). These developments are relevant for clinicians, educators, researchers, and administrators and policy-makers.


Patricia Watson, PhD 
National Center for PTSD 

Student Co-Chair

Rayna Sanghvi
Palo Alto University

Early Interventions SIG Listserv Address
Members of the Early Interventions SIG can use the SIG listserv to share information with the full SIG.