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Therapy: Narrative Exposure Therapy

Narrative exposure therapy is a short-term psychotherapy used for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma related difficulties, particularly designed for individuals suffering from complex and multiple trauma.

It has been most frequently used in community settings and with individuals who experienced trauma as result of political, cultural or social forces (such as refugees).

This treatment has been designed to help individuals establish a coherent life narrative which in turn, helps to contextualize traumatic experiences.

Therapeutic process involves establishing a chronological narrative of one’s life, however concentrating predominantly on traumatic experiences, but also incorporating some positive events. It is believed that this contextualizes the network of cognitive, affective and sensory memories of one’s trauma. The therapist would focus on asking you to describe your emotions, thoughts, sensory information and physiological responses in detail. You would be asked to narrate the traumatic experience and relive the emotions experienced without losing connection to the present.

Expressing the narrative allows for details of fragmentary memories to be filled and it leads to a development of a coherent autobiographical story. In so doing, the memory of a traumatic episode is refined and understood and well as processed.

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