Prolonged exposure therapy for toddlers with traumas following medical procedures

Lilach Rachamim, Izabella Mirochnik, Liat Helpman, Nitsa Nacasch, Elna Yadin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traumatic events have potentially debilitating long-lasting effects on the child's normal development and, therefore, should be effectively treated. Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy has been found to be effective in reducing posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in adults and in adolescents (e.g., Gilboa-Schechtman et al., 2010; Nacasch et al., 2011). It has not yet been tested in toddlers.This paper presents a detailed description of four cases of PE therapy adapted to toddlers and their parents whose posttraumatic stress symptoms developed following invasive medical procedures. Treatment consisted of several active components that were tailored specifically for the treatment of toddlers: psychoeducation about trauma, recounting scenes from the traumatic events, and in-vivo exposures to associated feared stimuli and triggers. The treatments resulted in substantial improvement in the toddlers and in their parents. At the time of treatment termination all toddlers had lost the posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis and resumed normal functioning. These case studies provide preliminary clinical evidence for the efficacy of PE in toddlers. Conclusions, limitations, and suggestions for future research regarding the treatment of toddlers with PTSD and their parents following medical procedures are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-252
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Prolonged exposure treatment
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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