A comparison of narrative exposure therapy, supportive counseling, and psychoeducation for treating posttraumatic stress disorder in an african refugee settlement

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2004 Aug;72(4):579-87. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.72.4.579.


Little is known about the usefulness of psychotherapeutic approaches for traumatized refugees who continue to live in dangerous conditions. Narrative exposure therapy (NET) is a short-term approach based on cognitive-behavioral therapy and testimony therapy. The efficacy of narrative exposure therapy was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial. Sudanese refugees living in a Ugandan refugee settlement (N = 43) who were diagnosed as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) either received 4 sessions of NET, 4 sessions of supportive counseling (SC), or psychoeducation (PE) completed in 1 session. One year after treatment, only 29% of the NET participants but 79% of the SC group and 80% of the PE group still fulfilled PTSD criteria. These results indicate that NET is a promising approach for the treatment of PTSD for refugees living in unsafe conditions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Narration*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Safety*
  • Social Support*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / ethnology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Sudan / ethnology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uganda