Narrative exposure therapy (NET) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Some evidence – there is enough evidence to indicate that this can be a helpful treatment option.

Narrative exposure therapy (NET) has been developed for refugees and survivors of conflict. With the guidance of your therapist, you will work to establish a story of your life, concentrating mainly on your traumatic experiences but also incorporating some positive events. 

Your therapist will ask you to describe your emotions, thoughts, senses and physical responses. They will ask you to describe the traumatic experience and relive the emotions you felt, but without losing connection to the present (which they will help you with). 

By telling your whole life story, you do not need to choose one particular traumatic event from the many events you might have experienced. When the treatment ends, you will be given a written version of your story which has been created by your therapist. 

NET is different from other treatments because it focuses on recognising and documenting your experiences in a way that emphasises your self-respect and acknowledges your human rights. For many people, knowing that they will receive a written biography helps to motivate them to finish the treatment. 

Recently, a version of this treatment called KidNET has been developed for children and young people and has been helpful for some young asylum seekers. 

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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