Telephone-Delivered CBT for Pain Management among Older Military Veterans

This study investigated the effectiveness of telephone-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy (T-CBT) in the management of chronic pain with older military veterans enrolled in VA primary-care clinics. We conducted a randomized clinical trial comparing T-CBT with telephone-delivered pain education (T-EDU). A total of 98 military veterans with chronic pain were enrolled in the study and randomized into one of two treatment conditions. Study participants were recruited from primary-care clinics at an urban VA medical center and affiliated VA community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). Pain management outcomes were measured at mid-treatment (10 weeks), post-treatment (20 weeks), 3-month follow-up (32 weeks), and 6-month follow-up (46 weeks). No significant differences were found between the two treatment groups on any of the outcome measures. Both treatment groups reported small but significant increases in level of physical and mental health, and reductions in pain and depressive symptoms. Improvements in all primary outcome measures were mediated by reductions in catastrophizing. Telephone-delivered CBT and EDU warrant further study as easily accessible interventions for rural-living older individuals with chronic pain.

Carmody, T. P., Duncan, C. L., Huggins, J., Solkowitz, S. N., Lee, S. K., Reyes, N., Mozgai, S., … Simon, J. A. (January 01, 2013). Telephone-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy for pain management among older military veterans: A randomized trial. Psychological Services, 10(3), 265-275.


Cognitive Behavior Therapy is Effective for Sleep Disturbances in US Military Vets

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) may improve sleep and reduce daytime PTSD symptoms among military veterans. The current study compared Prazosin (a pharmacological treatment for sleep disturbance) versus a CBT sleep intervention against a placebo control. Fifty US military veterans were randomly assigned to either the Prazosin group (n = 18), the CBT group (n = 17), or the placebo group (n = 15). Both active groups (Prazosin and CBT) showed greater reductions in insomnia and daytime PTSD symptom severity. Overall sleep improvements were noted in 61.9% of those who completed the active treatments and 25% of those in the placebo group. These results suggest that both pharmacological and CBT interventions may improve sleep and reduce PTSD symptoms among military veterans.

Germain, A., Richardson, R., Moul, D. E., Mammen, O., Haas, G., Forman, S. D., Rode, N., … Nofzinger, E. A. (2012). Placebo-controlled comparison of prazosin and cognitive-behavioral treatments for sleep disturbances in US Military Veterans. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 72, 2, 89-96.

CBT for Soldiers: A personal message to professionals from Drs. Aaron and Judith Beck

Dear Colleagues,

We are trying to address a very serious problem: military personnel who need effective psychological/psychiatric treatment but who are not receiving it. To address this urgent problem, we have embarked upon a new initiative to offer partial scholarships to our Cognitive Behavior Therapy training programs for mental health professionals who treat soldiers, veterans, and their families (

Cognitive ehavior therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated in hundreds of controlled trials worldwide to be effective for a wide range of problems, including depression, suicide, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and many more.

The non-profit Beck Institute in suburban Philadelphia is recognized as one of the premiere training sites for this kind of psychotherapy. The application of cognitive therapy to the needs of our military veterans is clear. The RAND Corporation conducted a study for the military on Predicting the Consequences of PTSD, Depression and Traumatic Brain Injury. One of the study’s summary conclusions is that the capacity to provide evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD and major depression (for example, CBT) would be important in closing the treatment gap.

We would like to bring our expertise to mental health professionals who treat soldiers, veterans, and their families. Please visit