The feasibility of prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD in low- and middle-income countries: a review

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Duane D. Booysen & Ashraf Kagee

https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2020.1753941

Abstract

There is a need in the global south to evaluate and implement empirically supported psychological interventions to ameliorate symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Empirically supported treatments (ESTs) have increasingly been developed and implemented, yet the majority people in the global south do not have access to these treatments for mental disorders such as PTSD. Prolonged exposure therapy has accrued substantial empirical evidence to show it as an effective treatment for PTSD. Research on the effectiveness and acceptability of prolonged exposure in a low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are sparse. This brief report presents a review of prolonged exposure (PE) therapy and its feasibility as a trauma therapy for PTSD in LMICs. First, we present a brief overview of PE as a first-line treatment for PTSD. Second, using South Africa as a case example, we present a brief overview of traumatic stress in South Africa and how mental healthcare has developed since the abolishment of apartheid in 1994. Lastly, we discuss the challenges pertaining to the dissemination and implementation of PE in LMICs and propose future perspectives regarding the implementation of ESTs such as PE in LMICs.

Received 05 Sep 2019, Accepted 01 Apr 2020, Published online: 13 May 2020

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