New Harbinger’s books offer techniques drawn from the most well-researched, proven-effective therapeutic models available, and are written by the foremost experts in psychology. Our editorial team ensures each book is accessible and useful to those who need them most—regular people who are either struggling with physical or mental health conditions themselves or searching for help for their loved ones. Here are a few of the therapies our authors use.
Evidence-Based Therapy (EBT), more broadly referred to as evidence-based practice (EBP), is any therapy that has shown to be effective in peer-reviewed scientific experiments. According to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, evidence-based practice is characterized by an:
“[a]dherence to psychological approaches and techniques that are based on scientific evidence”.
The American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association both consider EBT/EBP to be:
“‘best practice’ and one of the ‘preferred’ approaches for the treatment of psychological symptoms”.
In relevant literature, evidence-based medicine has also been defined as the:
“conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients”
(Sackett et al., 1996).
PTSD treatments generally fall into two broad categories: past-focused and present-focused (or their combination) . Past-focused PTSD models ask clients to explore their trauma in detail to promote “working through” or processing of painful memories, emotions, beliefs and/or body sensations about the trauma. In contrast, present-focused PTSD models focus on psychoeducation and coping skills to improve current functioning in domains such as interpersonal, cognitive, and behavioral skills. Examples of past-focused models include Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Narrative Exposure Therapy. Examples of present-focused models include Cognitive Therapy for PTSD, Seeking Safety, and Stress Inoculation Training. Thus far, the preponderance of evidence indicates that both types (past- and present-focused) work, and neither consistently outperforms the other in terms of outcomes based on RCTs . The majority of RCTs have focused on past-focused models, however, thus leading to the term “gold standard therapies” for models such as PE, CPT and EMDR (e.g. ).
Is (brainspotting/somatic experiencing therapy/hypnosis/neuro-linguistic programming/equine therapy/art therapy/thought field therapy/rapid resolution therapy) an evidence-based treatment for PTSD? No. These are not evidence-based. You can certainly try them! Some things may work for you, individually, that have not yet been studied sufficiently in scientific research. Generally, it probably makes sense to at least begin with one of the therapies with the most scientific support (PE, CPT, or EMDR) before investing your time, money, and energy into other forms of therapy.
If you have PTSD, I encourage you to seek out a professional who is committed to evidence-based treatment, and is well-trained in PE, CPT, or EMDR. If you haven’t had these treatments yet, know that you shouldn’t give up hope.
There are a few psychotherapies with evidence for reducing PTSD. Only three are strongly recommended according to evidence-based treatment guidelines:
- Prolonged Exposure (PE)
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
If you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, you need one of these treatments.
Prolonged Exposure is a very effective treatment for PTSD, and is my personal treatment of choice. PE involves revisiting the traumatic experience in a safe and supportive environment so that you can finally emotionally process the trauma. This revisiting happens in a therapeutic manner designed to help you heal. Conversations including discussing your perspectives about the trauma and considering new meaning that comes through revisiting the memory. Over time, when the trauma is processed enough, the memories don’t “burn to the touch” as much, so to speak. That can often lead to profound shifts in the way you feel on a day-to-day basis. PE usually takes 10-16 sessions or so.
Cognitive Processing Therapy is another evidence-based treatment for PTSD. CPT focuses much more on your thinking about the trauma. Through CPT, you will primarily discuss the meaning you have taken from the traumatic experience. Your therapist will help you think through different “stuck points” in your thinking about the event(s). Then, they will teach you skills to help you think through these “stuck points” on your own in the future. CPT generally takes around 12 sessions.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is evidence-based for PTSD, is extremely popular among therapists in many communities, and is highly controversial among trauma researchers. This treatment involves revisiting the traumatic memory while engaging in back-and-forth eye movements. It may involve another form of bilateral stimulation (such as an alternating buzzer in each hand).
Also, lots of people are doing EMDR who aren’t well-trained in PTSD more generally. Its explosion in popularity has made it hard to know if you’re actually getting good care. EMDR should also only take around 6-12 sessions. Many therapists will “weave EMDR in” to a much longer course of treatment, which is not usually necessary. That said, EMDR should work – and it’s usually fairly easy to find a therapist trained in it!
The Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) is an international society dedicated to using neuroimaging to discover the organization of the human brain.
The Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM), represents the neuroscientific, neurological, methodological, and educational interests of thousands of researchers worldwide – those who utilize advanced medical imaging and electrophysiological technologies to examine brain form, function, and connectivity. This community, with its focus on the development and application of specialized methodologies for data acquisition, processing, interpretation, and visualization, depends heavily upon the collective knowledge of its experts.
As OHBM gains momentum as a Society through a carefully created strategic plan, recently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, and looks forward to future success, it seeks to enact a formalized process to encapsulate, encode, and express “best practice” recommendations for our field. Such “best practices” have so far been mostly put forward in an ad-hoc manner. OHBM seeks to formalize this process with the aim of clarifying a consensus on what works best.
The following documents describe the means by which neuroimaging-related best practices recommendations are defined by the OHBM, how they may be solicited or proposed, ratified, and communicated.
Childhood maltreatment is associated with an automatic negative emotion processing bias in the amygdala
Major depression has been repeatedly associated with amygdala hyper‐responsiveness to negative (but not positive) facial expressions at early, automatic stages of emotion processing using subliminally presented stimuli. However, it is not clear whether this “limbic bias” is a correlate of depression or represents a vulnerability marker preceding the onset of the disease. Because childhood maltreatment is a potent risk factor for the development of major depression in later life, we explored whether childhood maltreatment is associated with amygdalar emotion processing bias in maltreated but healthy subjects.
The aim of the present study was to examine the moderating role of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system functioning on the relationship between child temperament and emotion regulation. Sixty-two 4.5-year olds (31 females) were rated by their parents on temperamental surgency. Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and pre-ejection period (PEP) were measured at baseline and in reaction to an interaction with an unfamiliar person and a cognitive test. The preschoolers’ ability to self-regulate emotion was assessed in response to a disappointment. Results revealed little or no PEP reactivity to the unfamiliar person to be related to poorer emotion regulation for children high in surgency, indicating that the lack of sympathetic activation may be a risk factor for behavioral maladjustment. Reciprocal sympathetic activation, or increases in sympathetic activity accompanied by decreases in parasympathetic activity, was associated with better regulation of emotion for all levels of temperamental surgency supporting previous work that reciprocal activation is an adaptive form of autonomic control.