Narrative Exposure Therapy

Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is a successful and culturally universal intervention for the treatment of survivors of multiple and severe traumatic events, such as organized violence, torture, war, rape, and childhood abuse. Field tests in contexts of ongoing adversity and disaster areas, as well as controlled trials in various countries, have shown that three to six sessions can be sufficient to provide considerable relief.

Individuals who have experienced multiple traumatic events over long periods as a result of war, conflict and organised violence, may represent a unique group amongst PTSD patients in terms of psychological and neurobiological sequelae. Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is a short-term therapy for individuals who have PTSD symptoms as a result of these types of traumatic experiences. Originally developed for use in low-income countries, it has since been used to treat asylum seekers and refugees in high-income settings. The treatment involves emotional exposure to the memories of traumatic events and the reorganisation of these memories into a coherent chronological narrative.

Results from treatment trials in adults have demonstrated the superiority of NET in reducing PTSD symptoms compared with other therapeutic approaches. Most trials demonstrated that further improvements had been made at follow-up suggesting sustained change. Emerging evidence suggests that NET is an effective treatment for PTSD in individuals who have been traumatised by conflict and organised violence, even in settings that remain volatile and insecure.