Prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is a theoretically-based and highly efficacious treatment for chronic post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) and related depression, anxiety, and anger. Based on basic behavioral principles, it is empirically
validated, with more than 20 years of research supporting its use. Prolonged exposure is a flexible therapy that can be modified
to fit the needs of individual clients. It is specifically designed to help clients psychologically process traumatic events
and reduce trauma-induced psychological disturbances. Prolonged exposure produces clinically significant improvement in about
80% of patients with chronic PTSD.
Prolonged exposure therapy was developed by Edna B Foa, PhD, Director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety. Practitioners throughout the United States and many foreign countries currently use prolonged exposure to successfully treat
survivors of varied traumas including rape, assault, child abuse, combat, motor vehicle accidents and disasters. Prolonged
exposure has been beneficial for those suffering from co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse when combined with substance abuse
Over years of testing and development, prolonged exposure has evolved into an adaptable program of intervention
to address the needs of varied trauma survivors. In addition to reducing symptoms of PTSD, prolonged exposure instills confidence and a sense of mastery, improves various
aspects of daily functioning, increases client's ability to cope with courage rather than fearfulness when facing stress,
and improves their ability to discriminate safe and unsafe situations.
In 2001, Prolonged Exposure for PTSD received an Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Program Award from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prolonged
exposure was selected by SAMHSA and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention as a Model Program for national dissemination.
Wikipedia July, 2012