Veteran Jonathan Warren found prolonged exposure therapy (PET) to be an immersive and intense treatment for his PTSD. It wasn't a cure-all, but it made a difference and gave him another coping tool to have in his belt.
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My experience with exposure therapy, and I’ve told this to friends as well, it was very, very intense. And so fortunately for me by the time I had gone through that program I had several years of therapy under my belt so I was able to use those tools to help me cope with this extremely intense therapy. So first session you go in and you put on goggles and you sit on a chair that vibrates and you get a gun, you have headphones on. And then they just kind of walk you through, okay, so tell me what happened on November 25th, 2006. And I say we were driving down a dirt road. And I go through the story and the goal is to really immerse you and get you back in there to eventually help you unwind and challenge any thought processes that you made up about that event. So you go … slow down, what does it smell like? What does it look like? And try to really get you into the moment. And then on the screen you’ll see the explosion, you’ll hear gunfire, you hear helicopters, radio chatter, and the chair shakes. And after the first treatment I was driving home and I just broke down and started balling my eyes out and had to pull over on the freeway and it was just so intense to go through. And at the end of the eight weeks of it, which was hard to go back again and again and again, I found that I was able to confront some of the things I made up about me and what I should have done and could have done and I had a chance to get some resolution in that and resolve. And again it was unfortunately for me just one of those therapies that was another tool in my tool belt but there was a bigger piece missing I think where my brain just wasn’t working the way it’s supposed to. So no matter how many different therapies I got it wasn’t going to fix all my problems so to speak. This video was produced by BrainLine thanks to a generous donation from the Infinite Hero Foundation.