top of page
Flower Blossoms

What is Cognitive Processing Therapy?

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy found to be effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After experiencing a trauma, the way you think about yourself and the world can change. However, this change may not be in a positive way but in a way that keeps your trauma/PTSD symptoms going. For example, a common thought that we tend to have after experiencing trauma is something along the lines of self-blame, “It was my fault” or “If I had done X then Y wouldn’t have happened.” CPT teaches you how to evaluate and change these intrusive thoughts you haven’t been able to shake since your trauma took place. 

CPT can be emotionally and mentally intense, especially when writing or talking about the trauma itself. Feeling discomfort during CPT is normal, though many clients report that their discomfort was brief and that it was outweighed by the benefits they gained from completing the course.

What To Expect During CPT

A full course of CPT typically involves 12 weekly sessions, each about 50 to 60 minutes long. Initial sessions are focused on psychoeducation designed to help you learn about PTSD and what you can expect from the treatment. In subsequent sessions, you will work with the therapist to identify and explore the ways that trauma may have altered your thoughts and beliefs, which in turn affect the way you feel and act. Your therapist will teach you a set of strategies to challenge and modify thoughts that may be inaccurate and/or unhelpful. Between each CPT session, you will have homework in the form of worksheets which will then be reviewed at the time of the next session before moving forward in the treatment. 

Image by Dim Gunger
bottom of page