Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Moderate to Large Effectiveness

Moderate effectiveness: 0.77

What is Prolonged Exposure Therapy?

1. The goal of this treatment is to promote processing of the trauma memory and tolindy-baker-75273-unsplash reduce distress and avoidance evoked by the trauma reminders.

2. Individuals with emotional numbing and depression are encouraged to engage in enjoyable activities, even if these activities do not cause fear or anxiety but have dropped out the person’s life due to loss of interest.

3. The imaginal exposure typically occurs during the therapy session and consists of retelling the trauma to the therapist.

4. The clinician works with the client to establish a fear and avoidance hierarchy and typically assigns exposures to these list items as homework progressively. aaron-burden-521422-unsplash

5. Both components work by facilitating emotional processing so that the problematic traumatic memories and avoidances habituate (desensitize).



0.87 large effect: reduced PTSD symptoms in veterans (Eftekhari, Ruzek, Crowley, Rosen, Greenbaum, & Karlin, 2013)

0.66 moderate effect: reduced depression symptoms in veterans (Eftekhari, Ruzek, Crowley, Rosen, Greenbaum, & Karlin, 2013)



Eftekhari, A., Ruzek, J. I., Crowley, J. J., Rosen, C. S., Greenbaum, M. A., & Karlin, B. E. (2013). Effectiveness of national implementation of prolonged exposure therapy in veterans affairs care. JAMA Psychiatry, 70(9), 949-955. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.36

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s