What Is Prolonged Exposure Therapy?
PET is a form of psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Originally developed by Edna Foa, Ph.D., PET is endorsed by both the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense. After a traumatic event, some people experience unwanted thoughts, disturbing nightmares, feelings of hopelessness, depression, and hypervigilance. If you have these symptoms, you understandably want to avoid thoughts, feelings, and things that remind you of the trauma. The goal of PET is to gradually help you reengage with life, especially with things you have been avoiding. By doing so, you will strengthen your ability to distinguish safety from danger and decrease your PTSD symptoms.