What is Prolonged Exposure Therapy?

Prolonged Exposure (or PE) is a gold-standard treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder and has an exceptional research base. It provides a way for trauma survivors to both address painful thoughts and memories associated with trauma, as well as to re-engage activities they may be avoiding because they remind them of trauma. A common metaphor for PE is that of a wound that has scabbed over but not properly healed. Through PE, we open and clean that wound, so that it may heal properly and no longer be so sensitive to the touch.

If you are interested in PE, that is something we can discuss in treatment. I can assess what you’re struggling with and get a sense of whether PE might be a good fit for you. For people who don’t feel they are ready for to directly address the trauma, there is other work that can be down that may seem less threatening.

For more on PE, check out the description at the National Center for PTSD here.

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