Cognitive therapy or imaginal exposure in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: Twelve-month follow-up. Tarrier, Sommerfield, Pilgrim and Humphreys compared the effectiveness of exposure therapy (re-imagining the trauma situation with a therapist) to cognitive therapy for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They that at 12-month follow-up, 54 patients with chronic PTSD were evaluated to see if improvements held up over time. They found significant improvement at 12 months, compared to pre-treatment. However, 39% were found to still meet the criteria for PTSD. No significant differences were found between the two kinds of treatments. Victims of crime displayed higher levels of symptoms at follow-up than victims of accidents. Dropouts from treatment did not differ significantly from those who remained in treatment. (People drop out when they are feeling better). The study concludes that clinical benefits for either imaginal exposure or cognitive therapy were maintained at 12 months.

Citation: Tarrier N, Sommerfield C, Pilgrim H, Humphreys L. Cognitive therapy or imaginal exposure in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: Twelve-month follow-up, British Journal of Psychiatry 1999 Dec; 175-575.