This article on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) discusses early intervention after trauma as a potential method for preventing or minimizing PTSD. From the article: "Although the study of early intervention has accelerated greatly in the last decade, and this acceleration has increased following September 11, 2001, the early intervention evidence base remains very limited. Early intervention is defined here as intervention designed to prevent chronic emotional problems and minimize long-term deterioration in quality of life following trauma exposure. A conference, sponsored by a number of federal agencies (including the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Justice, National Center for PTSD, National Institute of Mental Health, and American Red Cross), recently assembled experts from around the world to arrive at a consensus about early interventions following incidents of mass violence. Conference attendees concluded that the evidence available from methodologically-strong randomized controlled trials (RCTs) does not permit definitive confirmation or refutation of the effectiveness of any early psychological intervention following major incidents (see www.ncptsd.org/facts/disasters/fs_consensus.html). The majority of RCTs in this field have investigated treatments following the aftermath of individual traumas, rather than collective traumas, but strong conclusions about individual preventive treatments are also unwarranted at present. Moreover, there are no RCTs that specifically address early intervention with traumatized children."
National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
PTSD Research Quarterly (Fall 2001), v.12 no.4