Written Exposure Therapy for Suicide in a Psychiatric Inpatient Unit: A Case Series

for STRONG STAR Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at an elevated risk of suicide. For patients hospitalized for suicide risk, psychosocial treatment and stabilization are routinely offered; however, the availability of evidence-based, manualized therapeutic interventions for PTSD is sparse. Typically, the short duration of hospitalization makes it difficult to accommodate evidence-based, trauma-focused treatments. This article presents the clinical course of four active-duty service members with PTSD who were hospitalized in a psychiatric inpatient unit for acute suicide risk and treated with Written Exposure Therapy for Suicide (WET-S). WET-S is a brief, five-session therapy based upon Written Exposure Therapy and augmented with Crisis Response Planning for Suicide Prevention. Both posttraumatic stress symptoms and suicidal ideation were reduced from pre- to posttreatment for three of the four patients treated. WET-S shows promise as a manualized therapeutic intervention that can be delivered on an inpatient psychiatric unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • evidence-based treatments
  • inpatient psychiatry
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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