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Clinician's Corner: Sí se Puede: Prolonged Exposure Psychotherapy with Latinx Survivors of Sexual Assault

February 26, 2020

There is a robust literature demonstrating the efficacy and effectiveness of evidence-based, trauma-focused treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as prolonged exposure therapy (PE; Cusack et al., 2016; Watkins, Sprang, & Rothbaum, 2018). PE treatment consists of imaginal exposure, which involves leading clients through repeated in-session revisiting of the traumatic memories and processing related thoughts and feelings, and in vivo exposure, repeated approaching of safe trauma reminders that have been previously avoided. Clients are given homework between sessions to practice their in vivo exposures and listen to recordings of their trauma memories. By approaching and processing traumatic memories, clients learn that they can face their trauma and overcome their PTSD. Although some clients and therapists may fear that revisiting the trauma memory may increase trauma-related symptoms, these concerns have not been substantiated in the literature (e.g., Foa, Zoellner, Feeny, Hembree, & Alvarez-Conrad, 2002; Jayawickreme et al., 2014).

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