Exposure Therapy Superior to Counseling in Girls With PTSD

(HealthDay News) – Prolonged exposure therapy is superior to supportive counseling in adolescent girls with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to sexual abuse, according to research published in the Dec. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Edna B. Foa, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues randomized adolescent girls with PTSD to 14 sessions of prolonged exposure therapy (31 girls) or supportive counseling (30 girls).

Compared with girls receiving supportive counseling, the researchers found that girls receiving prolonged exposure showed significantly greater improvements in severity of PTSD symptoms (7.5 point difference) and in all secondary outcomes, including loss of PTSD diagnosis, self-reported PTSD severity, depression, and global functioning. These treatment differences were maintained at 12 months.

“[Adolescent] girls with sexual abuse-related PTSD experienced greater benefit from prolonged exposure therapy than from supportive counseling even when delivered by counselors who typically provide supportive counseling,” the authors write.

Foa disclosed having published books on PTSD treatment for which she receives income.

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