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April 4, 2024

Is Cognitive Processing Therapy(CPT) Effective for PTSD?

In seeking healing from the complexities of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a source of hope for many — especially those who haven’t found treatment that works. At Nema, we focus on delivering CPT, an approach that uses cognitive restructuring to help trauma survivors think differently about what they went through, and about themselves and the world.

Sofia Noori, MD, MPH
Is Cognitive Processing Therapy(CPT) Effective for PTSD?

Cognitive Processing Therapy anchors on the principle that our interpretations of traumatic events shape our emotional and behavioral responses after a traumatic experience. CPT works to help guide individuals on a process of  reframing thoughts and beliefs about their trauma to aim for a decrease in PTSD symptoms.

The Efficacy of Cognitive Processing Therapy

A multitude of studies highlight the positive effects Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) has on softening the grip of PTSD symptoms, which can include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, insomnia, and hyperarousal. But the benefits extend far beyond symptom relief; CPT also elevates quality of life, self-esteem, and interpersonal bonds.

In research conducted by Resick et al. (2017) where CPT is compared with other trauma therapies such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and prolonged exposure therapy, CPT shows remarkable success rates and improvement in social functionality. These findings shine a light on CPT's ability to not only address the cognitive aspects of trauma, but also to offer a path to a fuller, more connected life.

Unpacking Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive Processing Therapy occurs across 10-12 weekly sessions, each spanning approximately 60-90 minutes, grounded in a structured protocol for uniformity and effectiveness. The journey begins with sessions dedicated to educating patients about PTSD and using the cognitive model to start prompting an introspective examination and challenge of the thoughts and beliefs shaped by the person’s trauma.

As CPT unfolds, a variety of techniques, such as Socratic questioning and cognitive restructuring, are embraced to navigate and reshape negative thought patterns. This therapeutic journey is aided in the processing of emotions and crafting strategies to manage distressing symptoms, underscoring a holistic approach towards healing and restoration

CPT offers a structured, evidence-based pathway to trauma processing, empowering individuals to reclaim their lives with a renewed outlook. It fosters emotional integration and is adaptable to various trauma types and settings, underscoring its versatility for diverse individuals.

Considering Cognitive Processing Therapy

For individuals navigating PTSD and leaning towards a therapy that tackles the cognitive dimensions of trauma, Cognitive Processing Therapy may resonate well. Consulting with a specialized mental health professional to tailor the therapy to one's needs is crucial for optimal outcomes.

Selecting a Cognitive Processing Therapy Provider

The success of Cognitive Processing Therapy hinges on the expertise of the provider. It's imperative to seek a trained and experienced therapist in this specialized approach for the most effective engagement and healing journey. Nema therapists and providers are specialists trained in CPT and other evidence-based modalities that are most effective for PTSD recovery. Please reach out to our team here if you are interested in CPT for long-term healing.