Edna Foa and prolonged exposure therapy

Happy New Year everyone!

Check out the Philly Inquirer today (Sunday) for a lengthy piece on Dr. Edna Foa and her creation of prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD victims. It gives nice background info on her and how she came to transition from work with children to adults with anxiety disorders. This is the treatment that is used at UPenn in their treatment of war vets. While this treatment won’t work for everyone, many with OCD and PTSD could be vastly helped with this treatment.


Filed under Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd

3 responses to “Edna Foa and prolonged exposure therapy

  1. Erin

    The only cure is to go back and re live it to get it all out so it looses its power .. thats where the term “you need to get it out ” came from. really an old way of doing things so her approach isn’t all that new…

    • Actually, it is new…in the application and it isn’t really related to “get it all out.” The foundation is exposure therapy rather than psychodynamic. The psychodynamic view of pain is that expression of trauma or pain or whatever will be cathartic. Release the pressure and things get better. Instead, this therapy is more like repeated exposure therapy helps the person distance from the events (instead of having them relive, they retell until the power fades). The difference or new application is the frequency of retelling. Instead of doing some of this once a week or even less, the person retells on nearly a daily basis, in a very repetitive manner (hence prolonged).

      But you are right that the purpose is to lose the trauma’s power by retelling (not reliving). And even more new for the VA system is the fact that they are doing something more than supplying medications.

  2. scctnet

    Interesting post and newspaper article. Thanks for posting Foa’s work and P I’s article. I agree Exposure Therapy has helped many people with intrusive thoughts and memories. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and EMDR have been successfully used to treat PTSD too, though still waiting on further research. In fact, there is a lot of research being done on Critical Incident Stress Management these days that has been quite controversial.

    I think we just need to be flexible in our treatment methodologies, unlike the past, one method fits all.

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