Written Exposure Therapy Found to Be Effective for PTSD

Written exposure therapy consists of fewer treatment sessions; found not inferior to cognitive processing therapy
Written exposure therapy consists of fewer treatment sessions; found not inferior to cognitive processing therapy

HealthDay News — Five sessions of written exposure therapy (WET) are efficacious and an efficient treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study published online January 17 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Denise M. Sloan, PhD, from the Veterans Affairs Boston Health Care System, and colleagues randomized 126 veteran and non-veteran adults with PTSD on stable medication therapy to either WET or cognitive processing therapy (CPT) (63 participants in each group). Blinded evaluations of PTSD symptoms were done at baseline and 6, 12, 24, and 36 weeks after the first treatment session. 

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The researchers found that improvements in PTSD symptoms in the WET condition were non-inferior to improvements with CPT at each assessment. The 24-week assessment showed the largest difference between treatments. The WET group had significantly fewer dropouts than the CPT group (4 versus 25).

"Although WET involves fewer sessions, it was non-inferior to CPT in reducing symptoms of PTSD," the authors write. "The findings suggest that WET is an efficacious and efficient PTSD treatment that may reduce attrition and transcend previously observed barriers to PTSD treatment for both patients and providers."

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