Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 99–106 | Cite as

Brief Novel Therapies for PTSD: Written Exposure Therapy

  • Johanna Thompson-Hollands
  • Brian P. Marx
  • Denise M. SloanEmail author
PTSD (S Creech and L Sippel, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on PTSD


Purpose of Review

Written exposure therapy (WET) is a five-session exposure-based intervention for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). WET was developed through a series of systematic evaluations of the expressive writing procedure. It is an efficient intervention, requiring limited patient and therapist time, and no between-session assignments. The treatment results in statistically and clinically significant symptom change among individuals, including veterans, with PTSD.

Recent Findings

WET has been shown to be non-inferior to cognitive processing therapy (CPT), a more intensive form of PTSD treatment. Additionally, WET resulted in substantially lower rates of treatment dropout compared with CPT (6% versus 39%). Moderator analyses of the rate of symptom change during treatment indicated that WET performed equally well for participants regardless of age, gender, comorbid depression, or estimated full scale IQ.


WET represents a viable option for the efficacious, brief treatment of PTSD and may have significant strengths compared with other manualized psychotherapeutic approaches.


PTSD Treatment Brief therapies Trauma Cognitive-behavioral therapy 


Funding Information

The study was funded by grant R01 MH095737 awarded to Denise Sloan from the National Institute of Mental Health. Johanna Thompson-Hollands was supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Clinical Sciences Research and Development Service) under Career Development Award No. IK2 CX001589.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.

Conflict of Interest

Denise M. Sloan received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Johanna Thompson-Hollands received a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Denise M. Sloan and Brian P. Marx have a treatment manual book 2019 at the American Psychological Association.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Center for PTSDBostonUSA
  2. 2.VA Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  3. 3.Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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