What is Cognitive Processeing Therapy or CPT?

There has been a lot of focus and attention on treating PTSD and trauma in the last few decades. And for good reason. PTSD can be a debilitating disorder, affecting one’s ability to function on a daily basis. People who suffer with PTSD might experience nightmare’s and flashbacks, they may isolate or avoid situations for fear of the trauma happening again. Sometimes people experience rage and use drugs and alcohol in order to cope with the symptoms of PTSD. Trauma and PTSD is a very complex condition that involves different parts of the brain that we are still learning about. Currently there are many types of therapy that professionals use to treat PTSD and trauma. However, only a few have been researched and validated as effective treatment for PTSD. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Explosure (PE), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) have all been shown to be effective in treating PTSD according to the Clinical Guidelines of the VA.

In Cognitive Processing Therapy, the therapist helps the patient look at their beliefs and thoughts about the traumatic event and it’s consequences. The theory with CPT is that the patients beliefs and thoughts about the event are leading to painful and disturbing emotions about the event which is then leading to avoidance behavior. The avoidance behavior is preventing the patient from processing through the trauma in a healthy way in order to achieve resolution. The idea with CPT is that the therapist helps the patient restructure their thoughts and beliefs about the trauma so that they can process through the trauma and achieve resolution. CPT is a very effective treatment strategy for PTSD and working through traumatic events.

Check back as I talk about other treatments for PTSD and trauma!