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J Trauma Stress. 1995 Oct;8(4):675-90.

Change in rape narratives during exposure therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Medical College of Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia, USA.


This paper presents a coding system developed to explore changes in narratives of rape during therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involving repeated reliving and recounting of the trauma. Relationships between narrative categories hypothesized to be affected by the treatment and treatment outcome were also examined. As hypothesized, narrative length increased from pre- to post-treatment, percentage of actions and dialogue decreased and percentage of thoughts and feelings increased, particularly thoughts reflecting attempts to organize the trauma memory. Also as expected, increase in organized thoughts was correlated negatively with depression. While indices of fragmentation did not significantly decrease during therapy, the hypothesized correlation between decrease in fragmentation and reduction in trauma-related symptoms was detected.

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