The Departments of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) have released a new app aimed at helping those with post-traumatic stress disorder. The app, called PE (for prolonged exposure) Coach, is free on Apple and Android mobile devices. It was developed by psychologists at the DOD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology, known as T2, and the VA National Center for PTSD, and is specifically geared to help patients with their therapy.
"PE Coach is a helpful tool that assists our service members and veterans who are between visits and in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder," Jonathan Woodson, M.D., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs said in a statement. "We have shared this app with our military health care providers as well, and hope that many individuals who are receiving PE therapy will find it useful."
Prolonged exposure therapy can help patients process a trauma memory to reduce the distress and avoidance caused by the trauma. The patient revisits the memory with a therapist and as the memory is emotionally processed, anxiety decreases. It can also be used to help the patient avoid situations that trigger memories of the trauma.
The patient can record the therapy session for playback between the sessions through the app. It also provides an explanation of exposure therapy, assignments, explanations of PTSD and its symptoms, and a convenient way to write notes about typically avoided locations, situations and events for later discussions with their therapist.
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