Narrative Exposure Therapy for PTSD
May 21, 2020
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can present symptoms in a variety of alarming and intrusive ways, as individual to the person experiencing them as the traumas themselves. In past posts, we have discussed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a model for coping with PTSD, and today we'll be looking at another model known as Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET).
What is NET?
It's often understood that the way a person views their own life story is crucial to their understanding of those events. Through the course of several sessions, individuals or small groups create a cohesive chronological narrative of their life with the guidance of the therapist. This process, which includes retelling not only traumatic events but other major life events as well. Through this process, the therapist will ask the patient about their experiences regarding the sensory experience of that event, as well as physiological responses to it, while still remaining firmly grounded in the present. When the narration has ended, the patient is presented the entire documented autobiography to read aloud to the therapist.
How Can People Benefit from NET?
In the aftermath of trauma, a person suffering from PTSD may define their lives in terms of the trauma or traumas they endured, which can further inflict those feelings of trauma. By engaging in therapy that addresses the totality of a patient's life, it's much easier to contextualize traumatic events in terms of a much larger narrative. Moreover, revisiting fragmented traumatic memories with the guidance of a therapist can help provide details that a person might not have otherwise been able to remember, providing texture and context to those memories. Engaging in NET with a compassionate therapist can help recenter the patient's humanity and self-respect.
Who is a Good Fit for NET?
Narrative Exposure Therapy is especially good for people who have experienced complex or multiple traumatic events. The narrative model allows people to share and contextualize multiple traumatic events and place them in relation to one another, as well as to other life events as a whole. Refugee groups, people who have experienced repeated abuse, or people wishing to work through PTSD related to war may find this therapeutic method helpful.
If you're dealing with fragmented memories, flashbacks, and other symptoms of PTSD, contact
us to set up a consultation to help get you on the road to recovery.