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Delivering Prolonged Exposure Therapy via Videoconferencing During the COVID‐19 Pandemic: An Overview of the Research and Special Considerations for Providers

Authors
  • Wells, Stephanie Y.1, 2, 3
  • Morland, Leslie A.4, 5, 6
  • Wilhite, Emily R.4
  • Grubbs, Kathleen M.4
  • Rauch, Sheila A.M.7, 8
  • Acierno, Ron9, 10
  • McLean, Carmen P.11, 12
  • 1 Durham VA Health Care System, USA , (United States)
  • 2 VISN‐6 Mid‐Atlantic MIRECC, USA , (United States)
  • 3 Duke University, USA , (United States)
  • 4 VA San Diego Healthcare System, USA , (United States)
  • 5 University of California San Diego, USA , (United States)
  • 6 Pacific Islands Division, USA , (United States)
  • 7 VA Atlanta Healthcare System, USA , (United States)
  • 8 Department of Psychiatry Emory University School of Medicine, USA , (United States)
  • 9 University of Texas Health Sciences Center, USA , (United States)
  • 10 Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, USA , (United States)
  • 11 VA Palo Alto Health Care System, USA , (United States)
  • 12 Stanford University, USA , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Traumatic Stress
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Aug 17, 2020
Volume
33
Issue
4
Pages
380–390
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/jts.22573
PMID: 32881116
PMCID: PMC7461321
Source
PubMed Central
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

Leveraging technology to provide evidence‐based therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as prolonged exposure (PE), during the COVID‐19 pandemic helps ensure continued access to first‐line PTSD treatment. Clinical video teleconferencing (CVT) technology can be used to effectively deliver PE while reducing the risk of COVID‐19 exposure during the pandemic for both providers and patients. However, provider knowledge, experience, and comfort level with delivering mental health care services, such as PE, via CVT is critical to ensure a smooth, safe, and effective transition to virtual care. Further, some of the limitations associated with the pandemic, including stay‐at‐home orders and physical distancing, require that providers become adept at applying principles of exposure therapy with more flexibility and creativity, such as when assigning in vivo exposures. The present paper provides the rationale and guidelines for implementing PE via CVT during COVID‐19 and includes practical suggestions and clinical recommendations.

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