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(p. 1) Foundations of Prolonged Exposure 

(p. 1) Foundations of Prolonged Exposure
(p. 1) Foundations of Prolonged Exposure

Edna B. Foa

, Elizabeth A. Hembree

, Barbara Olasov Rothbaum

, and Sheila A. M. Rauch

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date: 03 March 2021

Foundations of prolonged exposure (PE) include (1) education about common reactions to trauma, what maintains trauma-related symptoms, and how PE reduces posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms; (2) repeated in vivo confrontation with situations, people, or objects that the patient is avoiding because they are trauma-related and cause emotional distress such as anxiety, shame, or guilt; and (3) repeated, prolonged imaginal exposure to the trauma memories followed by processing the details of the event, the emotions, and the thoughts that the patient experienced during the trauma. The aim of in vivo and imaginal exposure is to enhance emotional processing of traumatic events by helping the patient face the trauma memories and reminders and process the emotions and thoughts, as well as the details of the trauma that emerge during revisiting experiences.

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