PE Session Notes

PE Session Notes are quick, just-in-time reviews of the major segments of each session of PE. You can review them as often as needed.  New PE therapists may find it helpful to review just before seeing a client the first few times they do a particular PE session. Seasoned PE therapists may benefit by viewing Session Notes as quick refreshers if it has been a while since they used their PE skills. These reviews are only intended as supports for providers who have completed a full training workshop in PE.  They are not intended to be stand-alone training courses. For more information on training workshops in Prolonged Exposure therapy in your area, visit our Training page.  If you have been trained in PE by CDP and want more in-depth consultation and support, please visit our Consultation Services page.


Dr. Kelly Chrestman reviews the major segments to be covered in PE session 1, including orientation to treatment, a discussion regarding the rationale for treatment using exposure, collaboratively identifying the index trauma for treatment focus, teaching an anxiety-reducing breathing technique, and assigning homework. The importance of assigning and reviewing "homework," or between-session practice assignments, is discused.

Dr. Kelly Chrestman continues the series as she reviews the major segments to be covered in the second session of PE. These include homework review, a discussion regarding the common reactions to trauma, rationale for in vivo exposure, constructing an in vivo hierarchy, and assigning in vivo exposure homework.

Dr. Kelly Chrestman reviews the major tasks to be accomplished in the third session of PE, including homework review, a discussion regarding the rationale for imaginal exposure with the trauma memory, conducting the first imaginal exposure exercise, processing the exposure exercise, and assigning homework.

Dr. Kelly Chrestman reviews the relevant concepts and tasks for introducing "hot spots," and focusing on a specific hot spot during imaginal exposure. It includes the rationale for focusing on hot spots, collaboratively identifying hot spots, conducting an imaginal exposure exercise focusing on a hot spot, and processing the imaginal exposure.

Dr. Kelly Chrestman reviews the major segments of the final session of PE, which usually occurs somewhere between session 8 and session 12. These include reviewing homework, conducting a final imaginal exposure for the full narrative, processing the exposure, reviewing the in vivo hierarchy and rating each item again to show progress, reviewing the client’s progress overall in treatment, and a discussion about the future.

The PE Coach app was developed to be used in the context of Prolonged Exposure therapy. It is not a stand-alone treatment for PTSD, and does not replace individual therapy with a trained, competent PE therapist. However, the app supports, organizes, and augments many of the tasks and procedures involved in Prolonged Exposure therapy. It is available for free for iPhone and Andoid devices at the respective app stores. Click here to learn more and to download a free copy.