Emotional Processing Theory (EPT) and Exposure Therapy for PTSD
- 5.3k Downloads
Emotional processing theory developed by E. B. Foa and M. J. Kozak (1986) has informed the conceptualization of anxiety disorders and the development of effective treatments for these disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This article presents a summary and update of emotional processing theory as it applies to the treatment of PTSD, data in support of this theory, and clinical examples of how the theory can be used to assist in the treatment of clients with PTSD. Common difficulties confronted during exposure therapy for PTSD, including underengagement and overengagement, are discussed in the context of emotional processing theory and suggestions for how to manage these difficulties are presented.
KeywordsExposure therapy PTSD Trauma Emotional processing
We thank Shawn Cahill and Jonathan Huppert for their comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript.
- Cochran, B., Pruitt, L.D., Fukada, S., Zoellner, L.A., Feeny, N.C., Butt, Z., & Wuyek, L. (2003). Why? Why? Why? A qualitative analysis of women’s reasons for choice of PTSD treatment. Paper presented at the Anxiety Disorder Association of America Annual Conference, Toronto, ON.Google Scholar
- Feeny, N.C., Zoellner, L.A., Fukuda, S., Stucka, J., Vigil, S., Arlien, C., et al. (2004). Prolonged exposure and sertraline for PTSD: Moving toward effectiveness. Paper presented at annual ITSSS conference, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
- Foa, E.B., & Cahill, S.P. (2001). Emotional processing in psychological therapies. In N.J. Smelser & P.B. Bates (Eds.), International encyclopedia of the social and behavioral science (pp. 12363–12369). New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Foa, E.B., & Riggs, D.S. (1993). Post-traumatic stress disorder and rape. In J. Oldham, M.B. Riba, & A. Tasman (Eds.), American psychiatric press review of psychiatry (Vol. 12, pp. 273–303). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press. (Reprinted Post-traumatic stress disorder: A clinical review, pp. 133–163, by R. S. Pynoos, (Ed.), 1994, Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press).Google Scholar
- Foa, E.B., & Rothbaum, B.O. (1998). Treating the trauma of rape: Cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- van Minnen, A., & Foa, E.B. (2005). The effects of long versus short imaginal exposure on treatment outcome of PTSD. Manuscript under review.Google Scholar
- Zoellner, L.A., Feeny, N.C., McDavid, J., Moore, S., Fukada, S., Vigil, S., et al. (2004). Moving toward effectiveness: An open comparison of sertraline and prolonged exposure in the treatment of PTSD. Paper presented at annual meeting of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, Miami, FL.Google Scholar