Narrative exposure therapy

What is narrative exposure therapy for PTSD?

Narrative exposure therapy was developed for use in the management of multiple traumas. Trauma memories are usually not a snapshot of the event but are part of an entangled system related to the event and the meaning and emotion associated with it. Narrative exposure therapy facilitates the process of converting fragmented trauma-related autobiographic memories into a coherent narrative. The result is a remodelling of behavioural, cognitive, and emotional responses to thoughts or cues related to the event and to perceive the event and react to its memory in a less distressing manner.

What is the evidence for narrative exposure therapy?

Moderate to low quality evidence found a medium-sized effect of improved PTSD symptoms with narrative exposure therapy compared to non-trauma-focussed therapies (supportive therapy, psychoeducation, medication, interpersonal therapy, meditation). There was also a large effect of improved PTSD symptoms in children and adolescents after treatment with narrative exposure compared to waitlist/no treatment.

August 2021

Image: ©2019 Andrew Ostrovsky –

Last updated at: 3:53 am, 12th October 2021
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