An estimated 70 percent of people in the United States have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, and 20 percent of these people go on to develop full-blown Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, many people who have not experienced a life-threatening event experience lasting distress related to “traumatic invalidation” by peers, family members, or others in the school or work environments. Symptoms of trauma that has not been processed include re-experiencing of distressing events, avoiding reminders of traumatic memories, and negative self-talk related to the experiences.
For both those with PTSD and with sub-clinical trauma responses to traumatic invalidation, the Prolonged Exposure protocol (PE) has been shown to effectively help people to challenge long-held patterns of avoidance and negative cognitions, and to re-engage with their lives in a meaningful way. For those who also engage in high-risk behaviors, the DBT-Informed Prolonged Exposure Protocol (DBT-PE) is the first evidence-based treatment that is both safe and effective.