The Counting Method


     The Counting Method is a newly devised brief treatment approach to the desensitization of PTSD symptoms.  Developed by Frank Ochberg, MD, the Counting Method provides a parsimonious way to help clients process their traumatic memories without provoking high levels of affect.  By overcoming their avoidant responses, clients are able to process the entire memory and thereby reduce their fear response, as in other behavioral treatments for anxiety.  The core of the method consists of a Preparation Phase, the Counting Phase where the therapist counts out loud from 1 to 100 as the client remembers the traumatic event, followed by a Review Phase.  Preliminary research as well as clinical experience indicate significant reductions in arousal to traumatic memories can often by achieved in only a few sessions.  To download a pdf version of the most recent clinical article on the Counting Method, click here: The Counting Method as Exposure Therapy: Revisions and Case Examples, or our most recent research article: The Counting Method: Applying the Rule of Parsimony in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Training and Certification

     Training in the Counting Method is appropriate for any clinicians who have had experience working with traumatized populations.  Trainings are coordinated by the Post Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven, Connecticut (see us at  Formal trainings usually involve 20 hours of didactic work, followed by periodic supervision and review of audiotapes.

     The Training Manual is available free by clicking here: Training Manual , or at the Post Traumatic Stress Center, 19 Edwards Street, New Haven, CT 06511, 203-624-2146, and at

     Training staff include David Read Johnson, Ph.D. and Hadar Lubin, MD, who have worked in conjunction with Dr. Ochberg to develop the training manual and conduct preliminary outcome studies of the method.

     The videotape: "Frank Ochberg, MD on Post Traumatic Therapy: The Counting Method" (25 minutes) is available for puchase from Gift from Within, 16 Cobb Hill Road, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-8858, and at



Frank Ochberg, MD

     Dr. Ochberg (pictured above) developed the Counting Method in the early 1990s with clients in his private practice.  A graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, he worked at NIMH and then became Commissioner of Mental Health for the State of Michigan.  He was one of the founders of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the editor of Post-Traumatic Therapy and Victims of Violence, Brunner/Mazel, 1988, and now serves as representative of the Dart Foundation, and is director of its Trauma and Victimization innovations.