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The present study tested the effectiveness of Vaughan and Tarrier's (1992) Image Habituation Training (IHT) in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using a single case experimental design. The intervention was a brief exposure treatment involving one therapist-led training session and 12 self-directed homework sessions. Assessment measures were taken at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up. Decreases demonstrated in direct standardized measures of PTSD, anxiety, and depression were consistent with previous research. The mechanisms underlying the treatment effect were also investigated. Measures of image intensity, image-related anxiety, and belief in a dysfunctional cognition were taken at session-start, mid-session, and session-end. Decreases in between and within homework sessions using these three measures suggested that the processes responsible for change are complex and interactive. The findings from this study demonstrate the effectiveness of IHT as a brief exposure therapy for PTSD and highlight the need for further research aimed at eliciting the mechanisms of change.

Original publication




Journal article


Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Publication Date





365 - 369