Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Is Reliving Past Trauma The Cure? – ELLE

In the latest issue of Elle, there is a terrific article on the cognitive behavioral therapy of prolonged exposure and its usefulness for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder "Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Is Reliving Past Trauma The Cure?" by Louisa Kamps. (I've blogged about prolonged exposure, and you can find that posting here.)

Kamps does a great service by informatively describing prolonged exposure, including the controversies about its use and its potential benefits for violence and trauma survivors. She also provides a brief, evidence-based explanation of why women are more likely to struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than men.

Kamps has wonderful quotes by leaders in the fields of prolonged exposure and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including Edna Foa, Stevan Hobfoll, and Patricia Resick.

Kamp's article is a terrific read for someone who does not know a lot about cognitive behavioral therapies, prolonged exposure or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but is interested in learning more.

Also, the article could be used when training sexual assault advocates and counselors. And therapists may find this article useful for educating survivors about prolonged exposure as a possible therapeutic strategy.


Michele said...

Thanks for posting about this article; it was well done and everything we do to help people become educated about healing techniques is so important.

I wonder your opinion on the role of identity in healing trauma. I'm a survivor who struggled with undiagnosed PTSD for 25 years. And then I was diagnosed and went on a healing rampage! I tried talk therapy, CBT, and every information processing technique. I was not on meds and could not discuss what happened to me; exposure therapy wasn't even a choice.

When all traditional and alternative methods of healing did not bring me freedom I went off on my own odyssey: I decided to deliberately construct a post-trauma identity, some framework for imagining and moving myself into a new way of perceiving myself and my past. I did this through the pursuit of joy. It seemed crazy at the time but... it worked!

As I began to redefine myself, and choose whom I wanted to be outside of, beyond and despite trauma interesting shifts occurred -- I went from powerless to powerful and that made an enormous difference in how I felt about myself, my past, present and future.

Now I'm 100% PTSD-free and I've become a PTSD healing coach. I see this same process working in my clients.

In all of your research and work have you come across any studies that examine the interactive effects of trauma, survival and identity?

Rebecca J. Macy said...

Michele, Thanks so much for reading my blog AND for sharing your own story about resilience and transformation. How powerful!

Your question is a great one. In fact, it is making me think that I should do an entire blog posting to explore these important issues that you raise. I don't think I could do your question justice here.

So I promise (!) in the next few weeks to address these issues. Stay tuned...

And again, thanks so much for joining me in these important conversations here on this blog. best wishes to you!