A Comparison of Narrative Exposure Therapy and Non-Trauma-Focused Treatment in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background: Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is a relatively new treatment that may be beneficial as a standalone approach or as an adjunct for use in individuals who suffer from simple or complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Aims: The main objective of this review was to explore the effectiveness of NET in remediating PTSD symptoms as compared to Non Trauma-Focused-Therapy (NTFT).


Methods: A systematic search in Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE and The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) was carried out. Reference lists of papers and grey literature were hand searched. Experimental studies that compare NET to NTFT with no preference to age, gender or nationality of participants that include a baseline and 3–6 month measurement of PTSD outcomes using tools with good psychometric properties were included. The search resulted in 10 randomised controlled trials. Data extraction, collection and analysis was then carried out by the authors.


Results: In all of the studies, the difference in the PTSD symptoms’ mean score after 3–6 months between the NET group and the NTFT group was in favour of NET. However, the level of significance was attained in six of the studies only. The overall effect size (standardised mean difference) of the trials is 0.684 in favour of NET (p < .001).


Conclusions: NET was shown to be superior to NTFT in post-traumatic stress disorder. The most important recommendations are in relation to research and target the methodological limitations of existing studies in particular the small sample sizes, lack of blindness and inadequate rigour during the trials. More research is needed to further explore the benefits of NET for different populations and trauma-types.

Paulann Grech; Reuben Grech | 2020
In: Issues in Mental Health Nursing ; ISSN: 1096-4673 | 41 | 2 | 91-101
Complex PTSD, Literature Review, Narrative Exposure Therapy, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Systematic Review, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy