Detrauma is a mobile app designed to help you tackle the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The app guides you through three key steps: measuring your symptoms, completing five, 30-minute writing exercises, and tracking your progress. Detrauma is based on Written Exposure Therapy, an evidence-based treatment developed by researchers at the National Center for PTSD.
1. Measure your PTSD symptoms
The Detrauma app starts with a PTSD symptom quiz, so you can see how much your symptoms improve after each of the five writing exercises.
Detrauma’s Quiz measures the severity of your current post-traumatic stress symptoms. The Quiz asks 20 questions about the level of distress you’ve experienced recently, related to a single traumatic event in your past.
The Quiz is based on the PCL-5 (PTSD Checklist-5), a self-report questionnaire developed by PTSD researchers to measure symptoms of PTSD. Clinicians and professionals use the PCL-5 to screen individuals for PTSD and to monitor symptom change throughout treatment. While a PTSD diagnosis can only be made by a licensed professional, the Quiz can help you track your own symptoms and progress.
2. Write about your trauma for 30 minutes
In each session, Detrauma will guide you through a 30-minute writing exercise, which you will do with pen and paper in a quiet space without distractions. In each exercise, you will recall a single traumatic memory and write about it, in detail. Grammar and spelling aren’t important.
The writing exercises are based upon Written Exposure Therapy, which was developed by scientists at the National Center for PTSD as a trauma-focused alternative to talk therapy. Clinical research has shown WET to be as effective as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
3. Track your progress
Following each of Detrauma’s five writing sessions, you will receive a personalized report to track your progress. The dashboard’s graphs and charts show you how your symptoms have changed since you started your Detrauma journey. We’ll give you customized tips to improve the effectiveness of each writing exercises to maximize your symptom relief.
You can decide to complete the five writing exercises in five days or five weeks. The important thing is to commit to a regular writing time in your schedule and follow through. Research shows that most people who fully engage in the writing sessions see their PTSD symptoms decrease significantly. Many WET participants no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD after just five writing sessions.