About Written Exposure Therapy (WET) Overcoming Barriers to Beating PTSD

Stuck on a waiting list for therapy? Try this while you wait.

After trauma strikes, survivors often hear, “go get therapy!” But when they try, they’re put on a waiting list for weeks, months or even years. What can you do if you’re stuck on a long waiting list for trauma therapy, and can’t afford private PTSD treatments?

We developed Detrauma to make a highly-effective trauma therapy accessible to everyone who needs it. The five, 30-minute writing sessions help you tackle the traumatic memories that may be the root-cause of your distress.

Clinical studies show that Detrauma’s writing exercises relieve PTSD symptoms and are just as effective as face-to-face trauma-focused therapy. It’s affordable, private, and you can finish it in five days or five weeks. It won’t jeopardize your position on the therapy waiting list, and you can even bring your writing to your first therapy session to give your treatment a flying start. In the meantime, you can start healing and enjoying life again.

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About Detrauma About Written Exposure Therapy (WET)

What is Written Exposure Therapy for PTSD?

Written Exposure Therapy (WET) is a breakthrough evidence-based treatment for PTSD, strongly recommended by Veterans Affairs and the Dept. of Defence (VA/DoD) to treat PTSD. As the treatment comprises just five, 30-minute writing sessions, it is faster, cheaper, and more accessible than all other VA/DoD-recommended PTSD treatments. At the same time, a 2018 clinical trial at the VA showed that WET is equally as effective as the top PTSD treatment, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) in reducing PTSD symptoms.

This combination of delivering users real relief from PTSD while being so easily accessible is why we think WET is a game-changer for trauma treatment. Detrauma’s mobile app puts WET’s five writing exercises into users’ own hands so they can tackle their trauma at home.

Written Exposure Therapy is fast

WET is quite simply five, 30-minute writing sessions. With a little extra set-up time for the first session, the entire process adds up to just three hours. There is no homework between sessions, and no talk therapy involved. Most PTSD therapy methods require twelve 60 to 90 minute sessions. That’s 12 to 18 hours of therapy, plus weekly homework. WET takes a fraction of the hours.

Psychotherapists typically schedule their clients weekly, meaning that twelve PE or CPT sessions would take three months, and WET would take five weeks. More frequent sessions result in substantially greater PTSD symptom reduction. This means that in just five days, clients can achieve real relief from PTSD symptoms with daily writing sessions like Detrauma.

Written Exposure Therapy is affordable

Psychotherapists charge around $200 per hour. Twelve, 90-minute sessions for a recommended treatment like Prolonged Exposure (PE) or CPT can therefore cost $3,600. This price point puts PTSD treatment out of reach for huge numbers of people.

Totaling just three hours of treatment, WET would cost around $600 to complete all sessions with a psychotherapist. That’s just 1/6th of the cost of PE or CPT.

Detrauma has digitized the therapist’s role in WET, rolling the writing instructions, assessments and feedback into a privacy-conscious mobile app. The user can self-administer the entire program. Digitization brings the price down under $10, making trauma relief available to everyone who needs it.

Written Exposure Therapy is accessible

Most PTSD treatments are not only expensive and time-consuming for clients, but also for psychologists. It can take months and significant financial resources for a psychologist to train and get certified in an evidence-based treatment like PE or CPT. So while these methods are highly recommended by the VA/DoD, only a small minority of psychologists use them to treat PTSD. Someone suffering from PTSD may want an evidence-based treatment like PE or CPT, but they may struggle to find someone to provide it to them.

WET overcomes these key barriers of availability, cost and time. Narrative writing treatments can be effectively delivered by laypersons, volunteers, and health care workers like nurses, and over the internet. WET’s instructions and process are easy to follow and use, both for the provider and the client. And WET is non-proprietary, so the writing exercises are even available in Detrauma’s mobile app.

Written Exposure Therapy is easy

WET is easy to follow and to finish, for people with diverse backgrounds, educations and traumas. Crucially, the dropout rate for WET is very low, probably because clients see positive improvements in their symptoms quickly, with so little time and effort invested. In one clinical trial, only 6% of WET participants dropped out of treatment compared to 39% of CPT participants.

Detrauma makes written exposure even easier by putting all five writing exercises into your hands on your mobile phone.

Written Exposure Therapy is effective

Developed and clinically validated by Dr. Denise M. Sloan and Dr. Brian P. Marx, two leading authorities at the National Center for PTSD, WET makes highly effective PTSD treatment accessible to anyone who needs it.

People who complete WET’s five 30-minute writing sessions see long-lasting, clinically significant and substantial reductions in their PTSD symptoms. All 20 WET participants in a 2012 clinical study achieved relief from their PTSD symptoms and reversed their PTSD diagnoses. As the results show below, their relief was long-lasting, persisting through the six-month study period.

Clinical research shows that written exposure reduces PTSD symptoms

Mean CAPS score (a PTSD diagnostic tool) for WET and control group participants at Baseline (pre-treatment), Post-treatment, and 3- and 6-months after Baseline.
WET = Written Exposure Therapy group; WL = Waitlist (control group);
Cutoff = PTSD diagnostic threshold [added by Detrauma].
Source: Written Exposure as an Intervention for PTSD: A Randomized Clinical Trial with Motor Vehicle Accident Survivors, by Sloan, Marx, Bovin, Feinstein & Gallagher (2012).

Tackle PTSD with Detrauma

Detrauma is a new mobile app that puts Written Exposure’s five writing exercises, assessments and feedback into your own hands. Detrauma collects zero data from users, so it’s 100% private. It has no ads, no in-app purchases, and no subscription. 

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Supplementing Therapy with Meditation

A Six Step Guide by Detrauma

Therapy can be mentally exhausting, especially therapy for PTSD. Thankfully, meditation exists to mitigate some of these effects. Studies show that meditation has multiple therapeutic effects, including reducing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and boosting your mood. This six step infographic will help the Detrauma user supplement their own therapy with meditation.


The Pandemic and Access to Therapy

It can be assumed the coronavirus outbreak has impacted our daily life, but what does it mean to our clients seeking help from the counseling community? 

It is crucial to understand the social ramifications perpetuated by the outbreak including people experiencing vulnerability, lack of safety, stress and trauma related symptoms as a result of a sense of “uncertainty about what might happen next to one’s life and health, the exponential curve of virus-confirmed cases and deaths in the nation as reported in the media, limited access or difficulty in accessing health benefits and financial constraints due to a recent job loss caused by the pandemic.” It is important to recognize these compounding or simultaneous stressors to then promote optimal care.

Additionally, individual fear and stress-based responses may be triggered in anticipation of the potential long-term effects of the virus.  Combined with the array of compounding or simultaneous stressors, it becomes difficult to return to a healthy physiological state and functioning. All the while, these stress-based responses are worsened among those who lack resources such as social support or are in places with executed states of emergency, prompting individuals to enter into social isolation. 

Social distancing, taken as a preventive measure to slow the spread of the disease, is disrupting not just employment and education opportunities but also access to emotional support from others by restricting regular social interactions. There is also an income disparity with some individuals not having access to technology to stay connected with people virtually for emotional support are especially susceptible to social isolation and social isolation is a risk factor for depression.

Furthermore, people are experiencing the deaths of loved ones and fellow community members with the rising mortality rate associated with COVID-19 and their family members are having to assume the role of caretakers with their vulnerable loved ones falling ill. Individuals are having abstain from other regular tasks and duties, newly given the responsibility to care for loved ones. They may need more convenient and low commitment options for getting the help they need in coping and mental health applications, such as Detrauma, may be a very viable option. Mental health apps may be helpful in anxiety management, information giving and be culturally responsive as well by being transcribed in multiple languages and therefore inclusive of a number of communities.

About Trauma and PTSD News

Stop anxiety, nightmares and insomnia for better sleep.

I can’t sleep. When I lay in bed at night, my anxiety and bad memories haunt me and keep me awake. I’m scared if I fall asleep, the nightmares will come. Every night between 2am and 3am, I wake up again with insomnia. When my alarm finally goes off, I’m exhausted. It’s hard to focus on my schoolwork, exams and job interviews when I’m such a tired, jumpy mess.

Freda, University Student

Can’t sleep? You CAN stop anxiety, nightmares and insomnia caused by traumatic memories. With better sleep, you can invest your energy in building your future instead of being dragged down by your past. Try these three tips for a better night’s sleep, inspired by the legendary trauma expert, Dr. Judith Hermann.

1. Calm your nervous system

Trauma is stored in the body, not just the mind. You may notice that you’re more jumpy than usual, and you may feel your anxiety and fear in your body, a burning in your chest, shaky hands, tight shoulders or restless legs. Once you notice how you feel traumatic stress in your body, you can work to release it. Try a good workout like running or dancing to burn off nervous energy. Then, calm your nervous system with breathing-based movement like yoga or meditation. Body work like massage, Feldenkrais or acupuncture can also help rebalance your energy. A tired body and a calm nervous system will make you less likely to suffer from anxiety, nightmares and insomnia at night.

2. Clear your mind

Your mind may feel stuck in the past, as if the traumatic event is still happening now, over and over again. This is a typical symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Talk to your doctor about therapy for your trauma. In the meantime, writing about the traumatic memory can help you clear your mind to get a good night’s sleep. Detrauma is designed to walk you through five writing therapy exercises to relieve distressing symptoms like anxiety, nightmares and insomnia, day or night.

3. Reconnect with your life

Traumatic memories have a way of trapping you in the past. Try intentionally focusing your energy on the present moment to divert your mind. Activities that require your whole attention like playing sports, doing art, socializing and helping others will help retrain your mind to focus on the present moment rather than the past.

By calming your body and nervous system, clearing your mind of bad memories, and filling your days with joy and connection, you’re more likely to hit the pillow at night with a clear head and get a good night’s sleep without anxiety, nightmares and insomnia.

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Trauma is not the End: Written Exposure Therapy

It is easy to let trauma, anxiety, and grief overpower and take a front-row seat in your life. Often times, students and recently graduated professionals do not even recognize the influence trauma is having on them. In daily life, it can find its way into your work or study and prevent you from achieving the goals you are working towards. For each individual, it is important to recognize what this looks like in your own life.

People who suffer from trauma are at risk for many other issues: substance abuse, depression, poor health practices, poor social support. Despite these risks, it can seem really easy to sweep your trauma out of sight. But, it will not disappear on its own.

While treatment differs from person to person, it is important to face trauma head on. It should not be something you need to worry about through your entire life. It is possible to get better and thrive.

Woman writing in a notebook while listening with headphones.

Your treatment is important. When choosing to undergo treatment, through every step you should ask, how am I feeling, what do I need to do to progress, what works for me? Find ways to empower yourself. Find something that is personal, flexible, and effective. There is no one size fits all when discussing mental health treatment. At the end of the day, when it comes to your treatment, there is only one thing that matters. It should be something that works for you, on your schedule, and makes you feel comfortable through every step of the way.

Through Detrauma, try Written Exposure Therapy and conquer your trauma. Detrauama will show you that the events or ideas that haunt you do not need to be a thing of nightmares or manifestation in your daily life. Stay in control of your life, take action and live your life trauma-free.

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Detrauma – Tailoring PTSD Therapy for Communities in Need

From Beauty to Pain

Once a region of charm, culture, and history, Syria has become a country of unending conflict. Not a single person involved has been left unimpacted. Yet that’s just one country. The entirety of the Middle East follows in similar footprints. For decades, the region has faced war and political conflicts. And close to twenty-four million civilians have fled or become displaced. Inevitably, the region has been obliterated both literally and emotionally. What’s being done to help?

War Trauma

To begin with, the Syrian war created an endless list of unresolved problems. Namely, the refugee crisis. For insight, there are more than five million Syrian refugees. Equally important are the psychological impacts engraved in the sufferers of the war. As of today, civilians have been putting up with close to a decade of conflict. Now, disregard the financial and social hardship. Above all, the years of conflict have destroyed mental well-being. Ten years of aggression, mortality, and distress create the basis for a variety of mental illnesses. Namely, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Left unresolved, these feelings create barriers in your day to day life. They create conflict in your relationships, goals, and career. Triggers oftentimes resurface the emotions of the traumatic event. Specifically, they can contribute intense feelings of anxiety and stress.

Mental Health and Stigma

Mental health, in a lot of cultures, is placed in the taboo group. It is not discussed, therefore, it is not seen as a legitimate issue. Yet Middle Eastern civilians are historically subject to the violence and political conflict. Major conflict grew in the 1970s and is still persistent to this day. This makes PTSD close to inevitable for the civilians.


Being part of the Arabic community myself, and seeing firsthand the echo of the war, it truly feels like no one considers our emotional needs. Putting aside the social barrier, traditional therapy seems to be the only available option. However, actually getting to therapy is a process on its own. It’s limited availability, the financial aspect, and differences in languages make it an unrealistic option for people in need.

This is where Detrauma shines its light. Simply put, the app is effective therapy without the barriers. Detrauma provides a way for people to cope with their traumatic experiences in a private, cost-effective, and productive way. Barriers such as language, insurance, and transportation don’t intervene as a person works through their traumatic events.

Forget about what was stopping you. Be part of the change. Now, put yourself first. Detrauma is beginning the accessibility to trauma therapy. No matter where a person is, with access to a device, they’ll be able to tackle their traumas without concern to what language they speak or the culture they identify with. Detrauma is taking a different approach to PTSD therapy and is becoming the solution to an issue battled by so many people.

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How are you, really? Treat your PTSD now.

Living in a COVID world has only aggravated mental illness, especially for those who work in healthcare. Rising death rates, economic instability, and social isolation are all symptoms of a problem that healthcare professionals see day in and day out. Interacting with patients suffering physically and mentally, as well as those who can’t afford to cover their medical bills certainly makes things worse. And with social distancing as the norm, it is now more crucial than ever that alone time is enjoyed. For those who suffer from PTSD, that’s much easier said than done.

Getting Help

Certain cities have made efforts to expand counseling services with the emergence of the COVID-induced mental health crisis. Hospitals are noticing the psychological toll the crisis has had on their employees, and are advocating for preventative measures against the development of PTSD. But, all of these efforts may not be enough to help you with your specific concerns.

Waitlists, costs, and hectic work schedules all get in the way of getting help to treat PTSD. Online meetings with your therapist may not feel as private anymore with your family in the next room over. Maybe you’ve tried therapy and quit, because you felt that it just didn’t work for you. Or maybe you just don’t have the time, and what little time you do have you’d rather dedicate to relaxing. All of that is valid.

Maybe you just need something more personal and private, something you can work with on your own schedule — like an app.

Writing Exposure Therapy

Detrauma is a mobile app that walks users through Writing Exposure Therapy (WET), which is a highly effective method that can quickly deliver relief from PTSD symptoms. The app consists of five writing exercises that you can do on your own time in your own home. With the flexibility you need, complete privacy, and just a small time commitment, this app really is made for everyone.

Click on the button below to download the Detrauma app!

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About Detrauma About Trauma and PTSD About Written Exposure Therapy (WET)

The stress of college and a pandemic is real

Life in college can be stressful. In fact, 67-84% of students reported experiencing a traumatic event in their lives. 6-17% of those people experience symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms can make school even more stressful. Therapy is a time commitment, and having to balance school, work, and other extracurriculars can create a schedule that is unpredictable. How many people do YOU know who are available during work hours for an hour every week? Looking at the schedule posted by the school might seem light at first. Then everything else has to fit in those gaps somehow. It doesn’t help that most positions require time slots between 9-5.

“Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” – Maureen Killoran

And now we also have a pandemic going in…

It may be significant that mental health becomes a campus-wide priority during the current pandemic. Lots of schools are still closing and plan to be shut down for the entire year due to the spread of COVID-19. Plenty of students are currently struggling to go if they need mental health services right away when they are off-campus. Even the ones that do exist, like telehealth, feel impersonal and distant. College students’ daily lives have been reshaped with necessary impositions of social distancing, self-isolation, and taking online courses.

Stress and PTSD increases

Quarantine has opened up more opportunities to encounter stress. Especially the emotional and physical stress that comes with a pandemic! Venting to friends through zoom or facetime calls just doesn’t feel the same. The frustrations that come with isolation might be harder to deal with symptoms of PTSD. It might be harder to avoid triggers when you are restricted to certain spaces and activities. Remember to take care of yourself during these stressful times, and to prioritize your mental and physical health!

Written Exposure Therapy can help!

Exposure therapy is creating a safe environment where an individual can face the object or thought they fear and through repeated exposure, can eventually learn that this object or thought is harmless. Written Exposure Therapy stems from this method and is a very accessible form of treatment. By writing the thoughts that an individual experiences when they are around or thinking of the feared stimulus, this is essentially the same as practicing exposure. Following a routine schedule of writing for 30 minutes each day, many people have found relief through implementing Written Exposure Therapy. 

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About Trauma and PTSD Overcoming Barriers to Beating PTSD

Overcoming trauma on your own time

Make peace with yourself through written exposure therapy for PTSD.
Detrauma is a series of guided writing prompts to help you tackle your trauma.

Trauma, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common occurrences in post-conflict areas. Many casualties of war are civilians, and those who survive may still have recurring symptoms of anxiety, nightmares, fear, flashbacks, dissociation, and more. Although your country may be at peace now, it is unfortunately still normal for a war to happen in your mind.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complex disease with thousands of different symptom profiles. Its treatment, therefore, is highly individualized to the needs of each patient. Take a moment to think for yourself: what do I need right now? What am I feeling? How am I, really? Make a list. Take deep breaths.

Barriers to PTSD treatment

People experiencing mental distress from trauma are at risk for many concurrent issues: substance abuse, depression, poor health practices, poor social support. While NGOs try to alleviate trauma and provide mental health resources to post-conflict citizenries, the fact of the matter is that in many post conflict countries, there are very few doctors, and even fewer psychiatrists. Trauma is a public health issue. The United States has a myriad of confusing processes for post-conflict trauma, and no explicit procedure for treating it. In South Sudan there is one doctor for every 70,000 people. People wait in lines for years, they give up and try to move on with their lives without treatment.

The reality is, post-traumatic stress disorder cannot be swept under the rug. Trauma is a valid, salient part of many societies. It affects the way people socialize, the entire temperament of nations. Post-traumatic growth is possible, though, and with Detrauma, you can cater your treatment to your needs and abilities. It does not require a doctor, and you can do it at your own pace in your own language. Remember, you are not crazy, but for a period of your life, your situation was. Post-traumatic stress disorder is your body and mind trying to protect you from dangers that were at one point very real.

Don’t lose hope. We are here for you.

It’s time for Detrauma to remind you that you are now free from these threats. Doctors say that five, thirty-minute guided writing sessions are enough to sometimes permanently archive traumatic memories. It’s time for you to live freely.

About Trauma and PTSD

Tips to tackle your trauma in three steps (infographic)

Ready to recover from trauma and PTSD symptoms, but don’t know where to start? Should you try EMDR first, start a gratitude journal, dive into exposure therapy, or practice yoga?

Trauma recovery is a three stage process, and you’ll recover faster and more fully if you focus on one step at a time. Our infographic shows you how to tackle each step:

1. Establish Safety
2. Remember and Mourn
3. Reconnect

Step 1: Establish Safety 
Train your nervous system to feel safe again with:
Breathing exercises
Good sleep habits
Healthy exercise & nutrition
Supportive counseling 
Step 2: Remember & Mourn
Confront distressing memories and mourn what was lost to file the trauma away in the past:
Writing therapy like Detrauma
Exposure therapy
Peer support groups
Step 3: Reconnect
Rebuild your life in the present and pursue aspirations for your future:
Develop and deepen relationships
Practice gratitude
Engage in social action
Connect with spirituality 
Express yourself through art

The best way to recover from trauma, in 3 steps

Are you seeking the best way to recover from trauma but are overwhelmed by all the options? Should you try EMDR first, start a gratitude journal, dive into exposure therapy, or practice yoga?

Trauma recovery follows three stages according to the legendary Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Herman: 1. Establish Safety, 2. Remember and Mourn, and 3. Reconnect. You’ll recover from PTSD symptoms like flashbacks and panic attacks more fully if you start at the beginning and take it one step at a time.

Here are some actions you can take to successfully navigate each stage in your recovery.

Step 1: Establish Safety

Is your body stuck in fight-or-flight mode and reacting to the world like you’re still in danger? Then start your recovery with Step 1, establishing safety. Try yoga, breathing exercises, supportive counseling, and healthy routines to teach your body and brain that you’re safe now. The aim of Step 1 is to calm your nervous system down and establish the inner feeling of safety and stability.

Step 1 to trauma recovery establish safety and security

Step 2: Remember and Mourn

Once you feel calm, safe and energized to tackle your trauma, you’re ready to move to Step 2. In this next stage, you’ll teach your brain that the traumatic event happened in the past, and is no longer happening now. Techniques like Detrauma correct the ‘memory coding error’ that causes re-experiencing like flashbacks and nightmares. You can achieve this by confronting the memories that are causing you distress and reprocessing them safely.

Step 2 to trauma recovery remember and mourn

You may also mourn what you’ve lost, for example, trust, relationships, beliefs, a home, health, or a career. This second stage of recovery is challenging, and a counselor, peer support group or therapist can help you tackle it safely. The healthy practices you established in Step 1 will also help you feel grounded and safe while you tackle the past.

Step 3: Reconnect

With the memory of trauma safely filed away in the past where it belongs, it’s time to rebuild your life in the present, and pursue your aspirations for the future. In step 3, you’ll reinvent a new self and discover new meaning and depth in your life.

Like many survivors, you may develop and deepen relationships with loved ones, friends and your community and learn to trust again. You may thrive and flourish by keeping a gratitude journal, expressing yourself through art, dance or spirituality, or driving change in your community through social activism.

The best way to recover from trauma is to follow your own unique path through these 3 stages.

When you’re ready for Step 2, try Detrauma

Detrauma guides you through writing therapy, step by step. You’ll confront your distressing memories with pen-and-paper writing exercises. You’ll teach your brain that the traumatic event happened in the past, and that you’re safe now.

Writing therapy was developed by psychologists at the National Center for PTSD, and has been validated in clinical trials to substantially reduce or remove PTSD symptoms like flashbacks and panic attacks.

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