Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Adolescents (PE-A)

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
1  — Well-Supported by Research Evidence
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About This Program

Target Population: Adolescents who have experienced a trauma (e.g., sexual assault, car accident, violent crimes, etc). The program has also been used with children 6 to 12 years of age and adults who have experienced a trauma.

For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 18

Brief Description

PE-A is a therapeutic treatment where clients are encouraged to repeatedly approach situations or activities they are avoiding because they remind them of their trauma (in vivo exposure) as well as to revisit the traumatic memory several times through retelling it (imaginal exposure). Psychoeducation about common reactions to trauma as well as breathing retraining exercises are also included in the treatment. The aim of in vivo and imaginal exposure is to help clients emotionally process their traumatic memories through imaginal and in vivo exposure. Through these procedures, they learn that they can safely remember the trauma and experience trauma reminders, that the distress that initially results from confrontations with these reminders decreases over time, and that they are capable of tolerating this distress. Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD for Adults (PE) is also highlighted on the CEBC website in the Trauma Treatment (Adult) topic area.

Program Goals:

The overall goal of Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Adolescents (PE-A) is:

  • Promote the client’s ability to emotionally process their traumatic experiences and consequently diminish posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related symptoms

Contact Information

Sandy Capaldi, PsyD
Agency/Affiliation: Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at University of Pennsylvania
Phone: (215) 746-5705 or (215) 746-3311

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: September 2011