Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) is beneficial for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, a subset of clients struggle to engage with traditional methods, due to high levels of avoidance and dissociation. This paper aims to describe an adapted approach to imaginal reliving and prolonged exposure, to facilitate subsequent cognitive updating. The paper demonstrates the technique with veterans, who are a client group that may struggle with some aspects of traditionally implemented TF-CBT. Two case studies are described, both with PTSD symptoms stemming from traumatic military experiences. An adapted exposure technique is utilized to address the barriers of high dissociation, poor access to trauma-related cognitions and fixed intrusive imagery. The approach involved three stages: (1) reliving the trauma outdoors, (2) manipulating the perspectives of the imagery, and (3) restructuring the narrative with new perspectives. Both clients showed decreased dissociation and improved toleration of their traumatic imagery. Improvement of PTSD symptoms and quality-of-life functioning was observed for both clients on objective measures. Adapting TF-CBT to have a stronger emphasis on grounding and allocentric processing may be helpful for a subset of patients with PTSD that present with high levels of dissociation and avoidance. Further research and investigation into alternative populations is needed.

Original publication




Journal article


Cogn Behav Therap

Publication Date





Dissociation, PTSD, intrusions, memory fragmentation, traumatic stress