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Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an evidenced-based, cognitive behavioral therapy developed in the late 1980s for the treatment of PTSD. The primary goal of CPT is to help clients understand the link between maladaptive thoughts and beliefs created by traumatic events and one's feelings, behaviors, and bodily sensations. Over the course of 12 sessions, CPT provides a framework for understanding how PTSD symptoms developed, explores the function of PTSD symptoms as attempts to cope with the trauma, and reexamines the meaning created by the traumatic event. 


A key component of CPT treatment focuses on what are called "stuck points". These “stuck points” are thoughts and beliefs created from the traumatic experience that keep someone entrenched in the symptoms of PTSD and unable to achieve recovery. In CPT, the client will learn to challenge problematic thinking and beliefs within sessions and most importantly work though these symptoms with between-session assignments that help increase mastery of these cognitive restructuring strategies. 

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In later sessions, specific trauma themes are explored to reconnect the client to vital components of their lives that were deeply impacted by their trauma. These themes include safety, trust, power/control and intimacy. The goal is to develop awareness of how these themes have been hijacked by the traumatic event and ultimately regain control over how these themes are present moving forward. More information can be found at  

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