Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 5, 2012
   Pages 679 — 688

Abstract — Review of exposure therapy: A gold standard for PTSD treatment

Sheila A. M. Rauch, PhD;1* Afsoon Eftekhari, PhD;2 Josef I. Ruzek, PhD2–3
1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI; and University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI; 2National Center for PTSD, Dissemination and Training Division, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA; 3Stanford University, Stanford, CA; and Pacific Graduate School for Psychology, Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA

Abstract–Prolonged exposure (PE) is an effective first-line treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), regardless of the type of trauma, for Veterans and military personnel. Extensive research and clinical practice guidelines from various organizations support this conclusion. PE is effective in reducing PTSD symptoms and has also demonstrated efficacy in reducing comorbid issues such as anger, guilt, negative health perceptions, and depression. PE has demonstrated efficacy in diagnostically complex populations and survivors of single- and multiple-incident traumas. The PE protocol includes four main therapeutic components (i.e., psychoeducation, in vivo exposure, imaginal exposure, and emotional processing). In light of PE–s efficacy, the Veterans Health Administration designed and supported a PE training program for mental health professionals that has trained over 1,300 providers. Research examining the mechanisms involved in PE and working to improve its acceptability, efficacy, and efficiency is underway with promising results.

Key words: anger, cognitive behavioral therapy, combat, depression, exposure therapy, guilt, posttraumatic stress disorder, trauma, treatment, Veterans.


View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 49, No. 5
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Rauch SA, Eftekhari A, Ruzek JI. Review of exposure therapy: A gold standard for PTSD treatment. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(5):679–88.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2011.08.0152
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Last Reviewed or Updated  Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:28 AM

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