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Efficacy of Narrative Writing as an Intervention for PTSD: Does the Evidence Support Its Use?

Abstract

Although a number of effective psychotherapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are available, there is a need to develop alternative treatments for those who may not respond optimally to these treatments or who may not have access to clinicians who can competently deliver them. Narrative writing, which involves repeated recounting about a traumatic event in writing, is one treatment that deserves further examination as a potential alternative. In this paper, we describe the most commonly used narrative writing treatment protocols for those with either a diagnosis of PTSD or probable PTSD and discuss the available efficacy data for each of these protocols. We conclude with recommendations for using narrative writing to treat those with PTSD and offer recommendations for future work in this area.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by NIMH R01MH095737 Grant awarded to Denise M. Sloan. Sara Lowmaster is now at the University of South Dakota.

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Correspondence to Denise M. Sloan.

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Sloan, D.M., Sawyer, A.T., Lowmaster, S.E. et al. Efficacy of Narrative Writing as an Intervention for PTSD: Does the Evidence Support Its Use?. J Contemp Psychother 45, 215–225 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-014-9292-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-014-9292-x

Keywords

  • PTSD
  • Trauma
  • Psychotherapy
  • Narrative writing