Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)  is a form of cognitive therapy that can be very helpful for people who have experienced trauma. It was developed for those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and focuses on areas where you may feel stuck related to traumas and related conditions.

What is Cognitive Processing Therapy?

CPT is an evidence-based therapy that can help you to recover from trauma, PTSD, and other related conditions. This manualized therapy is a specific type of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that provides you with the skills to handle distressing thoughts related to past experiences. It focuses on the treatment of thoughts and feelings related to traumatic events. CPT therapy helps you to challenge beliefs related to the traumatic event(s), modify your thoughts about the event, and create a new understanding of that event to reduce the emotional distress and improve your coping abilities.

By changing the way you think about the traumatic event, you can change the way you feel about it and improve your ability to cope with the aftermath.

What Do CPT Sessions Look Like?

CPT Therapy is generally delivered over 12 sessions but the number of sessions can vary based on your needs. In initial sessions your therapist will talk to you about the treatment, and discuss some of the symptoms of PTSD and how they may be affecting your life and your goals. You may discuss the trauma with your therapist in broad terms or in a level of detail you are comfortable with.

Next, you will work on understanding your thoughts and feelings of the trauma and look at areas where you may feel “stuck”. Over several sessions you will talk about negative or unhelpful thoughts related to the trauma. You may be given exercises and homework to complete between sessions.

You will then work together to consider new ways of thinking about your experience and learning new skills. In later sessions you may explore with your therapist areas of your life that may have been impacted by the traumatic event(s). At this stage, your therapist will work with you on five main areas where individuals are commonly impacted by trauma and you will work on building your sense of safety, trust, intimacy with others, control, and self-esteem. 

Treatment generally takes about three months and requires consistency with attending sessions. 

Using Cognitive Processing Therapy For PTSD

Experiencing trauma can alter how you think and feel about yourself and the world. They can keep you stuck and prevent you from doing things you enjoy or living life in the way you want to. Using techniques of CPT, you can disrupt these thought patterns. A behavioural therapist can help you to examine these upsetting thoughts and whether there are facts that support or don’t support how you think about the trauma. Your therapist can help you learn skills to then decide if you’d like to learn new ways to think about the trauma, yourself, and the world. You can ultimately develop a new perspective of your trauma. 

IS CPT Treatment for PTSD Effective?

Yes. Cognitive Processing Therapy is one of the most effective treatments for working through traumatic events, PTSD, Complex PTSD and other related experiences. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a trauma-focused psychotherapy specifically designed to treat PTSD and one of the most researched treatments for PTSD showing that it is an effective treatment.

Who is Cognitive Processing Therapy For?

This form of therapy is most often used to help adults process a traumatic event or multiple traumatic events. It is effective for survivors of sexual assault, abuse, veterans and those who have experienced war or natural disasters, emergency workers such as EMT, police or firemen who may have exposure to trauma on an ongoing basis. It can also be helpful for those experiencing anxiety, depression, health-related concerns and sleep. A therapist can help you determine if CPT therapy for PTSD is right for you.

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What is the Difference Between Cognitive Processing Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Both are psychotherapy approaches that focus on modifying and changing negative patterns of thought, individuals can see an improvement in their mental health. They are both structured, goal-oriented therapies developed to empower individuals to change their thinking and improve their emotional state. 

CBT is a more general therapy and applied to a broader range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and phobias. CPT was specifically developed as a trauma-based approach for PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. CPT focuses on the “stuck” points related to the trauma and CBT can have a variety of approaches.  

CBT is a generally more flexible cognitive treatment and CPT has more structure. While CBT tends to focus more on the present and future, CPT delves deeper into past experiences and how these may be affecting the present.

Book Cognitive Processing Therapy in London, Toronto or Virtually in Ontario

If you’ve experienced trauma, let our therapists help you process and move forward with CPT. Book online or contact us to match you with a therapist in London, Toronto or virtually in Ontario. Start your healing journey with Cognitive Processing Therapy.