Exposure therapy a boon for sexually abused teens
New York – If sexually abused adolescents revisit and recount aloud their trauma-related thoughts, feelings and situations, they would be in a better position to get rid of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a study has shown.
The researchers stated that for treating adolescent PTSD patients who have been sexually abused, exposure therapy shows greater success than supportive counselling.
Despite a high prevalence of PTSD in adolescents, prolonged exposure therapy was not administered on them as there has been concerns that it could exacerbate PTSD symptoms in adolescent patients who have not mastered the coping skills necessary for this type of exposure to be safely provided.
“We hypothesised that prolonged exposure therapy could fill this gap and were eager to test its ability to provide benefit for adolescent patients,” saidEdna Foa, professor of clinical psychology at University of Pennsylvania in the study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The study examined the benefit of a prolonged exposure program called prolonged exposure-A (PE-A), that was modified to meet the developmental stage of adolescents, and compared it with supportive counseling in 61 adolescent girls, ages 13-18, with sexual abuse-related PTSD.
“Another key finding of this research was that prolonged therapy can be administered in a community setting by professionals with no prior training in evidence-based treatments and can have a positive impact on this population,” said Foa, who developed the prolonged exposure therapy.