Exposure Therapy for PTSD   [open pdf - 159KB]

This article on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) examines "exposure therapy" as an effective treatment for PTSD. From the article: "A variety of terms have been used to label therapy that consists of prolonged exposure to anxiety-provoking stimuli. These include flooding, imaginal exposure, in vivo exposure, prolonged exposure, and directed exposure. In this paper we will refer to all these therapy programs collectively as exposure. Exposure methods share the common feature of helping anxious patients confront their fear-evoking stimuli with the aim of reducing the irrational fear or anxiety. Most exposure therapy programs do not consist solely of exposure but include other components such as psychoeducation or relaxation training. The exposure components, however, are typically more central and occupy much more time than these other components; the latter are often presented as preliminary ways of building up to the exposure. Details on the implementation of exposure for PTSD have been provided in Foa and Rothbaum (1998). [...] The results from the studies discussed [in this article] consistently support the efficacy of imaginal and in vivo exposure for the treatment of PTSD resulting from a variety of traumas. In general, these studies are well-controlled, leading to strong conclusions. Exposure therapy tends to be relatively short-term and well-tolerated, even by very impaired individuals, and thus should be considered a treatment option in many cases of PTSD."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
Media Type:
PTSD Research Quarterly (Spring 1999), v.10 no.2
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