Prolonged exposure (PE) therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy developed to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a short-term treatment, designed to be completed in less than 15 sessions, where sessions are 90 minutes each. Research has found that Prolonged Exposure can lead to a major improvement in people suffering from PTSD.
Prolonged exposure was developed by internationally recognized expert, Dr. Edna Foa, and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania. It helps people overcome their trauma-related anxiety by gradually confronting fears head-on. The treatment has four critical elements:
Prolonged Exposure has been shown to be the most effective treatment for PTSD over medication and other forms of therapy. One of the advantages to PE is that it can be adapted to an individual's therapy needs and in the hands of a trained therapist can instill confidence in the sufferer that they can again mastery over their PTSD. It has been shown to improve 80% of PTSD patients that have suffered any number of traumas, including combat, sexual assault, accidents, natural disasters and child abuse, among others. PE is a short-term treatment, with most people showing improvment or recovery after just 10-15 sessions.
It has been developed, studied and modified for over twenty years and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has adopted it as one of their measures to help returning soldiers from combat situations deal with PTSD, an increasing need as soldiers are returned from overseas and re-integrated into society. This can be a difficult process for men and women that have spent months, even years, in high-intensity constant state of alert situations that occur in combat.
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