Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) was initially developed in the late 1980s as a treatment for survivors of sexual assault. It is such an effective treatment for trauma-related PTSD that it is now widely used to treat survivors of childhood sexual abuse, military combat trauma and more. CPT is endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense as a best practice for the treatment of PTSD.
CPT helps individuals understand and change how traumatic experiences impact their view of the world. For those who have had their world rocked by trauma and abuse, maladaptive thought patterns such as “I am not safe,” “The world is not safe” and “I cannot trust anyone” are pervasive. While those thoughts appear on the surface to help keep someone safe, in reality, they just limit the opportunity for healthy relationships and positive experiences that could provide joy and a corrective experience. Finding the right mix of caution and openness is critical for trauma recovery and the human experience.
Additionally, CPT addresses what one defines as the “cause” of the trauma. All too often, self-blame creeps in as someone plays the “what if” game to decide what they could have done differently to have a different outcome. These thoughts are not only unproductive and maddening, but can create secondary emotions of guilt and shame that are crippling.
There are four main components to CPT, which typically take place over 12 sessions, though that can be
adjusted as needed.
Treatment begins with psychoeducation about PTSD and the CPT approach towards trauma. During these initial sessions, we will go over your symptoms and the goals of your treatment.
Next, we’ll work to identify and understand your emotional responses to a traumatic event. You may write an impact statement that explores your thoughts and feelings about the trauma.
As we progress through treatment, you’ll learn how to question and challenge these thoughts, and develop skills to recognize problematic ways of thinking and challenge your beliefs.
Lastly, you will learn how your beliefs about the world can change after trauma. We’ll explore your beliefs in 5 key areas of your life: self-esteem, intimacy, power, safety and trust.
At Innova Grace, we provide CPT to help our patients manage their trauma-related symptoms such as anger,
anxiety, depression, hopelessness, guilt and more. Patients learn skills that can help them decide whether
there are more helpful ways to think about their trauma and become “unstuck.”
CPT is just one of the many trauma treatment therapies used at Innova Grace. Each one of our treatment
modalities is intended to treat every aspect of your recovery including mind, body and soul. To learn more
about our therapies, click here.