Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric illness that usually develops after an event that threatens ones life and body integrity and it affects quality of life and impairs social functioning significantly. Many studies have shown therapeutic effect of cognitive behavioral therapies on posttraumatic stress disorder, so that these therapies take part in the first step of treatment guides. Exposure is a practice that is generally used to reduce pathological fear and related emotions common in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders. During exposure, patients intentionally confront with feared objects, situations, thoughts and similar stimuli in order to reduce anxiety level. Exposure can be divided into two main techniques as in vivo exposure and imaginal exposure. Prolonged exposure therapy is a specialized treatment program configured for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and it is based on emotional processing theory. Program is comprised of four main components: (a) Psycho-education about trauma and posttraumatic disorders, (b) Training for breathing exercises, (c) repeated facing with objects, persons, situations and thoughts which causes re-experience about trauma, (d) Patient are instructed for telling repeatedly and loudly about traumatic experiences . Prolonged exposure usually involves 9 to 12 sessions, each lasting about 60-90 minutes, administered once or twice a week. Prolonged exposure therapy was started to be implemented since the 1980s, during this period the effectiveness of the therapy has been shown in various empirical studies.
Key words: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy