Cognitive Processing Therapy
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an evidenced-based manualized treatment protocol that has been found effective for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other corollary symptoms following traumatic events. It focuses on how the traumatic event is construed and coped with by a person who is trying to regain a sense of mastery and control in his or her life.
CPT techniques are utilized to focus on faulty thought related to traumatic events. It is theorized that individuals who develop PTSD following an exposure to a traumatic event experience significant disruptions in preexisting beliefs. These disrupted beliefs are manifested in inaccurate self-statements that interrupt or “stall” the normal recovery process.
Processing the trauma involves identifying and allowing for the dissipation of the natural emotions related to the trauma as well as identifying those thoughts that are preventing recovery.
These inaccurate statements are referred to as “stuck points” because they tend to keep the individuals “stuck” in PTSD and prohibit the recovery to normal functioning. After identifying stuck points, CPT therapists then delve more deeply into the cognitive component of the therapy by beginning to challenge identified stuck points through the use of open-ended questions, focusing initially on thoughts about self-blame and the patients attempts to go back and “rewrite” or undo the actual event.