Dialogical Exposure with Traumatically Bereaved Bosnian Women: Findings from a Controlled Trial

Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
Maria HaglWilli Butollo


In this trial, we compared the relative efficacy of dialogical exposure group treatment using Gestalt empty-chair method with a supportive group in the treatment of symptoms stemming from traumatic loss in a post-war society. One-hundred and nineteen women whose husbands were either killed or registered as missing during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina were quasi-randomized to seven sessions of group treatment with dialogical exposure or to an active control condition. Both interventions resulted in significant improvement from baseline to post-treatment for both kinds of loss, in terms of post-traumatic symptoms, general mental health and grief reactions, with the exception of depression and traumatic grief in the control condition. Regarding mean effect sizes (Cohen's d), pre-treatment to post-treatment improvements were moderate (d = 0.56) for the dialogical exposure group and small (d = 0.34) for the supportive group. Treatment gains were maintained at least until the 1-year follow-up. In controlled comparisons, dialogical exposure was superior concerning traumatic grief (Cohen's d = 0.37) and post-traumatic avoidance (d = 0.73) at post-treatment. Results show that short-term dialogical exposure group treatment was modera...Continue Reading


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