Veterans who have prematurely dropped out of exposure therapy for PTSD will be contacted and offered the opportunity to return to treatment, this time with the assistance of a Veteran who has successfully completed this treatment in the past. Participants may receive a PE "Workout Buddy." This peer will meet them at the in vivo exposure therapy location and offer support and encouragement while the patient remains in that location. Participants may receive a PE general support peer. This peer will contact them once per week to check in about treatment progress and encourage session attendance, as well as discuss any life stresses. As the PTSD treatment standards in Charleston and other VA sites across the country increasingly include telemedicine delivered care, both in person and telemedicine based exposure therapy recipients will be included.
The purpose of the study is to examine whether 60-minute sessions of Prolonged Exposure (PE) is as effective as the standard 90-minute sessions in reducing the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PE is a well-researched, very effective individual (one-to-one) therapy that is designed to help people to deal with traumatic events they have suffered in the past, including combat. This study is being conducted at the Charleston VA Medical Center, surrounding Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), and in the community. It will involve approximately 200 active duty participants. This research is funded by the Department of Defense.