Friday, October 5, 2012

The Coherent Story of the Memory Heals

ABSTRACT of what I like to call a "mother-effin smoking gun" article:
Individuals who have experienced multiple traumatic events over long periods as a result of war, conflict and organised violence, may represent a unique group amongst PTSD patients (sic) in terms of psychological and neurobiological sequelae.  
Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is a short-term therapy for individuals who have PTSD symptoms as a result of these types of traumatic experiences.  
Originally developed for use in low-income countries, it has since been used to treat asylum seekers and refugees in high-income settings.  
The treatment involves emotional exposure to the memories of traumatic events and the reorganisation of these memories into a coherent chronological narrative.
This review of all the currently available literature investigates the effectiveness of NET in treatment trials of adults and also of KIDNET, an adapted version for children.
Results from treatment trials in adults have demonstrated the superiority of NET in reducing PTSD symptoms compared to other therapeutic approaches.
Most trials demonstrated that further improvements had been made at follow-up suggesting sustained change.
Treatment trials of KIDNET have shown its effectiveness in reducing PTSD amongst children.  
Emerging evidence suggests NET is an effective treatment for PTSD in individuals who have been traumatised by conflict and organised violence, even in settings that remain volatile and insecure.

Robjant, K. & Fazel, M. (2010).  The emerging evidence for Narrative Exposure Therapy:  A review.  Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 1030-1039.

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