PET works by having clients confront traumatic events, rather than avoiding them, to help reverse the cycle of trauma avoidance and help them process the traumatic event.
The idea behind PET is that more anxiety, anger, and distress arise from not dealing with a. traumatic event. With repeated exposure through therapy, that includes memories of the event as well as things that can trigger reminders, clients can confront, process, and work through their thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma.
How Does Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) Work?
What Is the Evidence Behind PET?
Research shows that PET can be an effective treatment in diminishing the symptoms of PTSD and the anxiety that’s caused by traumatic events. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study found that although there are potential negative side effects associated with starting the treatment, ultimately, PET has a high rate of success in diminishing the symptoms and helping clients lead a more satisfying and functional life.
While PET is used primarily in the treatment of PTSD, it’s also been effective in treating conditions that commonly co-occur with PTSD, including anxiety, impulsivity, anger, and depression. Studies have also found that when used with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), PET can successfully reduce PTSD symptoms with suicidal individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
PET At Clearview Treatment Programs
At Clearview, we take the time to determine if PET will benefit each client before pairing them with a highly trained therapist. If we determine that PET is the appropriate treatment, we then guide the client and help them explore their trauma in a safe and nurturing environment.
After a traumatic event, clients can feel like they’re alone and may never be functional again. PET helps clients take control of everyday situations and change their perspectives so they can cultivate the skills needed to start the healing process.