Nick Grey, Chris Merritt and Hannah Murray conducted a study of ‘Returning to the Scene’ as part of exposure therapy for trauma clients. Returning to the scene is always a particular behavioural experiment that we should give time and consideration to as part of treatment.

Background: Visits to the location of the trauma are often included in trauma-focused CBT, but no research to date has explored how service users experience these visits, or whether and how they form an effective part of treatment. Aims: The study aimed to ascertain whether participants found site visits helpful, to test whether the functions of the site visit predicted by cognitive theories were endorsed, and to create a grounded theory model of how site visits are experienced. Method: Feedback was collected from 25 participants who had revisited the scene of the trauma as part of their treatment plan. The questionnaire included both free text items, for qualitative analysis, and forced-choice questions regarding hypothesized functions of the site visit. Results: Overall, participants found the site visits helpful, and illustrated four main processes occurring during the site visit: “facing and overcoming fear”; “filling the gaps”; “learning from experiences” and “different look and feel to the site”, which when conducted with “help and support”, usually from the therapist, led to a sense of “closure and moving on”. Conclusion: Therapist-accompanied site visits may have various useful therapeutic functions and participants experience them positively.

You can find the Research Paper itself in “”journals.cambridge.org/bcp, volume 44, issue 04 dated July 2016, page 420. Nick Grey’s work is always a must read for me.  Check it out for yourself.


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