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Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety

Program Type: Resources - Information or materials that might help develop a program/project in a community but can not be defined as a Best Practice, Promising Practice, or Local Effort.

Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy is a cognitive-behavioral treatment program for individuals suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The program consists of a course of individual therapy designed to help clients process traumatic events and thus reduce trauma induced psychological disturbances. 20 years of research has shown that PE significantly reduces the symptoms of PTSD, depression, anger and general consists of 9 to 12, 90 minute sessions. PE includes three components: 1) Psycho-education about common reactions to trauma and the cause of chronic post-trauma difficulties 2) Imaginal exposure: repeated recounting of the traumatic memory (emotional reliving) 3) In-vivo exposure: gradually approaching trauma reminders (e.g. situations, objects) that, despite being safe, are feared and avoided. PE therapy reduces PTSD symptoms including intrusive thoughts, intense emotional distress, nightmares and flashbacks, avoidance, emotional numbing and loss of interest, sleep disturbance, concentration impairment, irritability and anger, hyper vigilance and excessive startle response.

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Mental Health

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Name: Edna B. Fox, Ph.D., Director
Site or Location Name: Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorders
Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market Street, Suite 600
North Philadelphia, PA 19401
Phone: (215) 746-3327