Massed written exposure therapy delivered to veterans with posttraumatic stress symptoms on an acute inpatient mental health unit

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Journal of Traumatic Stress


Written exposure therapy (WET) is a brief, manualized trauma-focused treatment typically delivered in five individual weekly sessions. Given the brevity and effectiveness of WET, researchers have begun to focus on its delivery in a massed format. However, only one case study examining massed delivery has been published to date. As such, the objective of the current study was to examine the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of massed WET among veterans with a trauma- and stressor-related disorder receiving care on an acute inpatient mental health unit. Veterans (N = 26) were assessed prior to, immediately after, and 1 month following massed WET. Most veterans found massed WET to be useful and acceptable. Recruitment and retention rates suggested that the treatment was feasible. Notably, the results revealed statistically significant reductions in overall posttraumatic stress symptoms, η = .81, p < .001; depressive symptoms, η = .71, p < .001; and functional impairment, η = .42, p = .002. These findings add to a growing body of literature highlighting the preliminary effectiveness of WET across various settings, populations, and delivery formats. Limitations include the small sample size and uncontrolled design.

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