Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

1  — Well-Supported by Research Evidence
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About This Program

Target Population: Adult survivors of organized violence, war, conflict, torture, man-made and natural disasters, civil trauma as well as childhood sexual/physical abuse, mistreatment and neglect

Brief Description

NET is a culturally universal intervention. Given its focus on the autobiographical elaboration of traumatic experiences, NET is particularly suited for populations affected by multiple and continuous traumatic experiences, such as organized violence, torture, war, rape, and childhood abuse. NET has been developed as a standardized short-term approach. It is designed so that three to six sessions should be sufficient to provide considerable relief and reinstate individual functioning, even for patients who suffer from severe and chronic traumatization in areas of on-going adversity and recent disasters. Beyond its focus on healing the wounds of trauma, NET aims to account for the human rights abuses suffered by survivors. Beyond the core components of classic NET described in this entry and on which the CEBC has rated the program, there are newly developed treatment modules for the rehabilitation of traumatized children (KIDNET), as well as Forensic Offenders (FORNET) as well as a module on the theory and practical management of dissociation.

Program Goals:

The goals of Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) are:

  • Significantly reduced clinical symptomatology of PTSD
  • Significantly reduced clinical symptomatology of co-morbid trauma-spectrum pathology, especially depression, anxiety, suicidality, substance abuse depending on the patient population also reduction of borderline symptoms, self-harm, aggressive acting out
  • Significantly reduced clinical symptomatology of trauma associated features, especially feelings such as guilt and shame
  • Significantly improved personal functioning at the social, occupational, scholastic, emotional level
  • Significantly improved family and community functioning (depending on patient population) at the level of readiness for forgiveness and reconciliation, community cohesion, readiness for (re-)integration as a civilian, reduction of re-recruitment, among other
  • Significantly improved health indicators (T-cell recovery, DNA recovery)
  • Independently functioning therapist and psycho-social counselor groups/outpatient clinics in severely underserved regions
  • Documentation and acknowledgement of human rights abuse at the individual, family, community, state levelglobally, such as regions of complex emergency and conflict
  • Public mental health education on trauma spectrum disorders and their treatment
  • Fostering truth, reconciliation and compassion for survivors as well as perpetrators, at the community and individual level

Contact Information

Maggie Schauer, PhD, MA
Agency/Affiliation: University of Konstanz, Germany & Vivo International

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: October 2015

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: October 2013