Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Experiential Avoidance: A Case-Series Study

  • Bita Ghafoori
  • Clinical Case Studies, April 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1534650118766660

Psychotherapy for experiential avoidance and PTSD

What is it about?

Past research has found that experiential avoidance (EA) is a type of avoidance that is common in individuals who report distress associated with traumatic events. No treatment studies to date have evaluated potential changes in EA associated with prolonged exposure therapy (PE), an empirically supported treatment for traumatic distress. This case series presents outcomes associated with treatment by PE for five adults who presented with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and problematic EA. In comparing pre-treatment to 1-month follow-up scores, all the participants reported decreases in PTSD, GAD, depression, and all but one participant reported a decrease in EA. The findings of this study suggest that PE may be a helpful treatment for individuals reporting EA.

Why is it important?

It is important to understand what treatments may be helpful for individuals with comorbid conditions.


Dr. Bita Ghafoori
California State University Long Beach

This is important because prolonged exposure therapy has been found to work well for PTSD in randomized controlled trials, but few studies have been conducted for individuals with comorbid GAD and PTSD

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Bita Ghafoori