Prolongued exposure (PE) is considered one of the most effective treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With more than 20 years of scientific evidence supporting its efficacy, PE has become the treatment of choice for the Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services in the U.S. VA providers across the country are trained to use PE to support veterans suffering from traumatic experiences in combat. PE is effective in treating all kinds of traumatic events that can differ a great deal in nature but still be highly traumatic (e.g. bullying, rape, witnessing a death, etc.).
PE helps survivors of trauma emotionally process their experiences by encouraging clients to confront anxiety-arousing situations and memories which over time significantly decreases fear and anxiety related to the traumatic event.
The components of PE treatment include education, breathing retraining, gradual in vivo (“in real life”) exposure to situations typically avoided and imaginal exposure (revisiting memories in your imagination). PE is a structured, organized, and scientifically-based way to actively reclaim the life you had before the traumatic event.