Thursday, July 10, 2008

Prolonged Exposure Treatment for PTSD following 9/11

Kazi, A., Freund, B., & Ironson, G. (2008). Prolonged Exposure Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder following the 9/11 attack with a person who escaped from the Twin Towers. Clinical Case Studies, 7, 100-116.

This article chronicles the progress of one 9/11 survivor through the cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention of prolonged exposure (PE) therapy to address her PTSD and depressive symptomatology. This treatment consists of (1) imaginal exposure, and (2) in vivo exposure. It is designed to elicit emotional processing until the detrimental traumatic memories and avoidances have habituated (desensitized). After 15 sessions this client improved 75% as measured by a composite index. However, there was residual symptomatology 6 months after therapy ended but measures remained sub-clinical. Progress through treatment can be seen as waxing and waning, but trending towards improvement. Still, in this type of therapy clients must be stressed before they are to feel better. With the prevalence of PTSD at 8% in the US population, clinicians are calling more and more for effective treatment regimes. PE may be a promising candidate.

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