The Effectiveness and Tolerability of an Intensive Outpatient Trauma Treatment Program for Adolescents With PTSD

Efficacy of outpatient trauma treatment program using prolonged exposure (PE) and EMDR for adolescents with PTSD.

Article Abstract

“Following the promising effects of an intensive trauma treatment for adults, the question arises whether adolescents suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also benefit from a similar treatment program. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness and tolerability of an intensive trauma treatment program combining two evidence-based, trauma-focused therapies—prolonged exposure (PE) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)—with psychoeducation and physical activity for adolescents suffering from PTSD in an outpatient clinic. We used a multiple-baseline study design. Fifteen adolescents aged 12–18 years old with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.) diagnosis of PTSD were included. Participants were randomized to wait 2, 3, or 4 weeks between the start of baseline and the start of the intervention. In the 2-week intervention period, participants received daily PE, EMDR, and physical activity. The social network of adolescents was involved for support. PTSD symptoms and treatment tolerability were assessed daily. PTSD diagnosis was assessed at baseline and at 1 month and 3 months after completion of treatment. In addition, semistructured interviews were conducted after treatment to determine the tolerability. After treatment, we found a diagnostic PTSD remission of 58%–62% and a decrease in PTSD severity compared with baseline. The effects were maintained at 1-month and 3-month follow-ups. The dropout rate was 13%. Participants reported good treatment tolerability. This study provides initial evidence that an intensive outpatient trauma treatment including PE, EMDR therapy, psychoeducation, and physical activity is effective and tolerable for adolescents with PTSD and is associated with low dropout rates.”

—Description from publisher

Article Access

Free Access for EMDRIA Members or Purchase/Subscription Required

Tijsseling, I., van ’t Noordende, A. T., Zijlstra, B. J. H., Merbis, M., & van Veen, S. C. (2024).The Effectiveness and Tolerability of an Intensive Outpatient Trauma Treatment Program for Adolescents With PTSD. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 18(2), 68–81.


This content is restricted for members only. Please or Join EMDRIA.