"Traumatic experiences can impact how you see yourself, others, and the world. You may have difficulty trusting others, or consider the world to be a dangerous place. You may believe you are to blame for what happened. While we cannot undo the past, recovery is possible. Cognitive processing therapy, or CPT, can help you move through painful and almost unspeakable events and get to the other side. Your CPT therapist will help guide you to think about the trauma differently, and you will learn skills to change the thoughts that keep you stuck.
CPT is a gold-standard treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It focuses on the beliefs you have about the trauma, and how it has impacted you in terms of safety, trust, power and control, esteem and intimacy. Over the course of 12 sessions, you learn how to challenge unhelpful beliefs related to trauma, and ultimately become your own cognitive therapist.
What to Expect From CPT
CPT is a structured, manualized treatment, which can feel a bit different from typical talk therapies. The therapy is provided in 10-12 sessions, although more can be added when necessary. Your therapist will ask you to talk about the trauma, although the focus is more on your beliefs rather than details of the event. You will also be asked to complete practice assignments outside of session, which is very important for recovery.
How do I know if I have PTSD?
Only a medical professional such as a doctor, psychologist, social worker or counselor can diagnose PTSD. During your intake appointment, your therapist will assess whether or not CPT is right for you. Symptoms of PTSD may include: having distressing or unwanted memories of the trauma, feeling as though you are reliving the event, nightmares or difficulty sleeping, avoiding things that remind you of the trauma, feelings of guilt or self-blame, and hypervigilance."