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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Acute Stress Disorder (CBT for ASD)


This clinician's resource comprises a treatment manual for Acute Stress Disorder (ASD).

This treatment manual presents a 6 session treatment for Acute Stress Disorder, which has demonstrated effectiveness in preventing the development of chronic PTSD at 6 months (Bryant et al., 1998) through to 4 years post trauma (Bryant et al., 2003). The treatment has been used with survivors of motor vehicle accidents, industrial accidents and nonsexual assaults.

Author/Publisher Details

Richard Bryant, University of New South Wales, Australia.


Acute stress disorder describes post-traumatic stress reactions that are present after an event until 4 weeks post-trauma. Prospective studies (Bryant & Harvey 1998; Harvey & Bryant 1998) suggest that up to 80% of people with ASD will go on to suffer PTSD within 6 months. This early intervention treatment manual guides 6 sessions of structured Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions with prolonged exposure. Patients who receive CBT in the initial month after trauma present with less intense PTSD than those who received supportive counseling. See references for further details.


Bryant, R. A., Harvey, A. G., Dang, S. T., Sackville, T., & Basten, C. (1998). Treatment of acute stress disorder: A comparison of cognitive-behavioural therapy and supportive counselling. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(5), 862-866.

Bryant, R. A., Moulds, M. L., & Nixon, R. V. D. (2003). Cognitive behaviour therapy of acute stress disorder: A four-year follow-up. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 41(4), 489-494.

Bryant, R. A., Sackville, T., Dang, S. T., Moulds, M., & Guthrie, R. (1999). Treating acute stress disorder: An evaluation of cognitive behavior therapy and supporting counselling techniques. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(11), 1780-1786

Training Requirements

Note that only appropriately trained clinicians with experience in cognitive behavioral theory and therapy should attempt to use this treatment manual. Practitioners without this background are strongly advised to obtain training and supervision in general CBT approaches prior to implementing the approaches described in this manual.

This resource should be used in an ethical and responsible manner and should be used only for the purpose(s) for which it has demonstrable validity. Please observe copyright where indicated and reference it appropriately.

Manual Available Only to ISTSS Members