Despite the proven efficacy of exposure techniques for the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, some obstacles can arise that interfere with successful implementation of exposure-based therapy. In this paper, the theory behind exposure therapy for PTSD is reviewed and basic implementation procedures are detailed. The ways in which three obstacles to treatment (extreme anger, emotional numbing, and overwhelming anxiety) can impede progress in therapy are discussed in terms of theory and case examples. Specific suggestions for circumventing these obstacles are offered, including modifying the exposure techniques and augmenting exposure by using stress inoculation techniques or cognitive therapy.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.