Prolonged Exposure Therapy veteran
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Mental Health and Wellness

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

What is PE?

Prolonged Exposure therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that helps people face their fears. In individuals who struggle with traumatic events, PE helps slowly introduce them to their traumatic experiences and work through them.

Prolonged exposure therapy can be customized to fit an individual’s needs and traumas. People’s initial reaction to trauma is to avoid anything that reminds them of their experience, but this does not help with PTSD.

Instead, with the use of prolonged exposure, individuals can face their trauma head-on and reduce their symptoms of PTSD.

PE’s use in treating PTSD

Prolonged Exposure therapy is used in treating PTSD after a therapeutic relationship is established. The patient needs to trust the therapist in order for the PE to effectively reduce the veteran’s PTSD.

First, the therapist describes the treatment plan and develops an understanding of what the veteran’s traumatic experiences. After the initial assessment, the therapist then will begin the PE. Prolonged Exposure therapy typically takes about three months to complete if the patient attends weekly therapy sessions.

Each therapy session takes one to two hours for the PE to decrease the PTSD symptoms.

There are generally two types of exposures used in PE:

  1. Imaginal Exposure Imaginal Exposure is created when the patient describes traumatic events in their life as if it was currently happening to them. The therapist helps the patient process the emotions that come up throughout the imaginal exposure. These sessions are typically recorded so the patient can continue with the work independently and listen to these sessions back to further reduce their PTSD symptoms.
  2. In Vivo Exposure In vivo exposure is done outside of the therapy sessions. The patient and therapist discuss what kinds of outside stimuli may trigger the veteran’s PTSD and decide on a plan to slowly face their trauma. The veteran is encouraged to start out slow and plan each experience in a session with the therapist to be successful in the prolonged exposure.

Benefits of PE in Veterans

Prolonged exposure therapy can be beneficial in treating veterans who have struggled with PTSD. Not only can it reduce the PTSD symptoms these veterans are experiencing, but it can also help with the patient’s daily life.

The veteran’s ability to cope when facing stress increases by using this therapy technique and establishing breathing techniques with their therapist. In addition, the veteran will be able to better differentiate between a safe and dangerous situation.

Veterans may even see a reduction in their PTSD symptoms after a few sessions. The benefits of completing the prolonged exposure therapy process last long after the final session.

Start PE to Help with PTSD at Solara Mental Health

At Solara Mental Health, we help veterans reduce their PTSD symptoms by applying prolonged exposure therapy.

In PE, veteran’s get individual therapy to process the trauma in a safe space with a therapist they have an established relationship with. Our therapists take the time to do an assessment and discover all of the trauma the veteran has been experiencing before starting with the prolonged exposure therapy.

For more information about prolonged exposure therapy, or about other treatments offered at Solara Health, please contact us.

Solara’s Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Veterans

People who experience phobias can benefit from prolonged exposure therapy, which is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It is possible to tailor prolonged exposure therapy to meet the needs and traumas of each individual. Understanding each veteran’s specific diagnosis is crucial for the treatment, that’s why at Solara Mental Health San Diego our staff of professionals is ready to assist each patient accordingly through a personalized treatment plan.

Solara Mental Health is VA contracted as a community care provider. Once authorized, housing, transportation, and accommodations will be provided.

What Our Clients Say


Solara was truly a life-changing experience for me and for our children, because of what you did for my wife! The treatment team was phenomenally supportive and perfect for helping her with her anxiety and depression. We are all now moving forward to put our lives back together and it started with you all in Pacific Beach. Thank you for what you do.


Even though I’m not religious, I realized when I got sober that for the first time in my life I wanted to explore my spiritual side. I benefited hugely from the individual spiritual sessions that I had with Chris. I’m really grateful for that aspect of the whole treatment experience.

R.M. – Father

If not for Solara Mental Health, I am almost positive that our daughter would not be as advanced in her treatment, and would not have the almost miraculous confident and positive outlook that she has.


The Solara Treatment Program was a life-changing experience for me. To be able to heal in such a beautiful, peaceful environment, with such a terrific treatment team, was so amazingly positive. I have found my true self, again. I thank you and my family thanks you for helping me become the person I was meant to be.

Michelle Family

I want to thank you and the entire staff and support system at Solara for taking such good care of my sister. On behalf of my entire family, we want you all to understand that your patience and kindness stretches further than you can see… Thank you, again and again, from the bottom of my heart.


The program has given me the tools I needed to really gain stability. For the first time in years - maybe for as long as I can remember, actually, I’m learning how to cope and manage my stressors and triggers. I now believe that I can find some relief and happiness.


We are so grateful to you for the treatment and care you provided our daughter. She is doing unbelievably well now thanks to your program. We will gladly tell anyone we encounter that needs treatment about the wonderful work you do at Solara.

M.P. – Father

Your program provided our daughter with the most masterful therapist we have ever encountered (and we have used many).  She has had an unbelievable ability to see the long-term trajectory of our daughter’s treatment and to approach her treatment in stages that fit where my daughter’s development was.  We can’t say enough positive about her.

Watson Family

Solara’s program was such a positive experience for our mom (and for us)! She had become almost impossible to deal with. Your entire staff was phenomenally supportive and kind and patient with her. We feel like we’ve got our mom back, now.


The Solara program is truly amazing. I’ve never had more clarity or more good energy in my entire life. The attention the physicians and the therapists gave me was outstanding. I feel like they truly understood and addressed my issues, which had consumed my life for years. Thank you all.


The therapists and counselors and really whole team were extremely beneficial to me and my understanding of my issues. The treatment plan they developed was exactly what I needed


I have never felt better than I do now, since completing your program. The truly caring and supportive staff and the intensive program changed my life. What a neat place to stay for treatment - I love Pacific Beach! I have learned skills and behavior to move forward with my life thanks to you.