Feasibility of brief intensive exposure therapy for PTSD patients with childhood sexual abuse: a brief clinical report
SourceEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology, 1, (2010), pp. 5626
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
European Journal of Psychotraumatology
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Despite the strong empirical support for the effectiveness of exposure-based treatments in ameliorating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), improvement of treatment is wanted given relatively high dropout rates and challenges of treating patients with high comorbidity and treatment-interfering stressors. The purpose of the current paper is to introduce an intensive exposure treatment program, illustrated by four case descriptions of PTSD patients, who suffered multiple (sexual) traumas in childhood, had high levels of comorbidity and psychosocial stressors, and failed to improve during “regular” trauma-focused treatment programs. The program consisted of psychoeducation, prolonged imaginal exposure, exposure in vivo, exposure by drawings combined with narrative reconstructing, and writing assignments about central trauma-related cognitions. The treatment included 5 working days with individual sessions (in total 30 h of treatment) provided by a team of four therapists. The PTSD symptoms of all patients decreased substantially and the effect sizes were large (Cohen's d resp. 1.5 [pre–post], 2.4 [pre-FU1 month], and 2.3 [pre-FU3 months]). Also, none of the patients showed symptom worsening or dropped out. The evaluation of these four pilot cases suggests that it is possible to intensify exposure treatment, even for multiple traumatized PTSD patients with high comorbidity. We concluded that the first results of this new, intensive exposure program for PTSD patients with childhood sexual abuse are promising.
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