Prolonged exposure (PE) is a time-limited, manualized, cognitive behavioral psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this form of exposure therapy, traumatic memories and reminders of trauma are gradually approached to bring about a reduction in trauma-related distress, examining information about the trauma and its consequences, and leading to changes in maladaptive trauma-related beliefs about the self, others, and the world. Patients are typically seen individually for 9 to 12 weekly or twice-weekly sessions that last 90 to 120 minutes.

Beginning in the United States in the late 1970s with Vietnam War veterans, repeated exposure to imagined images of traumatic wartime experiences was effective in reducing anxiety related to those images. In an early randomized controlled trial, Terence Keane and colleagues found exposure therapy, termed ...

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