Prolonged exposure treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder following the 9/11 attack with a person who escaped from the twin towers

Aisha Kazi, Blanche Freund, Gail Ironson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Scopus citations


The occurrence and impact of terrorist attacks can be dramatic and long lasting. Cognitive-behavioral interventions are effective in alleviating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in survivors of rape, wartime combat, automobile accidents, and natural disasters. Effectiveness of such interventions on victims of terrorist attacks is in the early stages of research. On September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes crashed into the twin towers in New York City, killing approximately 2,750 people and emotionally and physically affecting thousands who witnessed or escaped the attack. This case study illustrates a course of 12 active prolonged exposure (PE) sessions for PTSD with a female survivor. After 15 sessions (3 of which were preparatory), the client improved 75%, as measured by a composite score of measures. Her reported quality of life had improved dramatically posttreatment and remained stable at 6-month follow-up. This cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention, with 15 office sessions and homework assignments for decreasing avoidances, is described and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-117
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Case Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008



  • 9/11
  • CBT
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Prolonged exposure treatment
  • Terrorist attacks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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