DBT has long been a treatment for individuals suffering from Emotion Dysregulation. Often, those who experience Emotion Dysregulation do so because of an overwhelming life experience or trauma. New research on Prolonged Exposure in the context of DBT, shows the effectiveness of DBT for PTSD, and in helping those suffering from PTSD to heal from the disorder.
In Stage 2 of DBT, Prolonged Exposure Therapy is integrated into traditional Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Individual therapy sessions include additional time for clients to work on trauma memories and to process these memories with their therapist to reduce and eliminate symptoms of PTSD such as re-experiencing, physiological arousal/anxiety and avoidance. Over a period of approximately 12 weeks, clients develop new perspectives on their traumatic experiences and may show a dramatic reduction in symptoms. Research shows that clients receiving DBT and Prolonged Exposure are twice as likely to eliminate PTSD symptomatology after treatment than those receiving DBT alone (Harned, M., Korslund, K. & Linehan, M. Behavior Research and Therapy, February 2014.)
Tricia J. Mlnarik, LMFT, has been intensively trained by Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the DBT Prolonged Exposure therapy protocol. If you would like more information about this treatment, please contact Tricia at (408) 207-5269.
For more information on PTSD and Prolonged Exposure, watch the TED talk “Return from Chaos: Treating PTSD”, presented by Dr. Peter Tuerk who works at the Charleston VA and the Medical University of South Carolina.