Narrative exposure therapy
Narrative exposure therapy (NET) is a short-term psychotherapy used for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related mental disorders. It creates a written account of the traumatic experiences of a patient or group of patients, with the aim of recapturing self-respect and acknowledging the patient's value. Under this name it is used mainly with refugees, individually or within small groups.
NET was created in Germany in the early 2000s.
NET is conducted around the use of the lifeline, which serves as both a reference point for the therapist and the patient during the therapy. Different symbols are used to reconstitute the patient's lifeline, especially flowers and stones. Flowers are used to represent good/positive events, whereas stones are the bad/negative events of the patient's life. Size, shape and colour of symbols may also be used to indicate events with greater or lesser intensity or significance. It is up to the patient to decide on placing and choosing these symbols to reconstitute his/her lifeline. The biggest stones are then chosen to be dealt with, since they represent the greatest traumas that the patient need to reprocess or overcome.
Narrations are a product of the therapy. In the end of a therapy, the narration is read and given to the patient. It is supposed to be a representative summary of the patient's life, even including some details. Narrations are expected to be taken by the patient to help him/her overcome his trauma and mental problems. Narrations are helpful for the patient to re-process his/her memories of the past, particularly the trauma, and reorganize his/her thoughts, which should ultimately reduce the recurrence of bad memories that are responsible for the suffering of to the patient.
- NET: aimed at a general public
- KidNET: aimed at children and adolescents
- FORNET: aimed at perpetrators
Studies have shown NET to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, but few comparisons have been made to other available treatments.
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