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.
Typically conducted as a 12-session protocol with a recommended follow-up session
around 30 days after the end of treatment, CPT helps to consider the overall therapy
in terms of phases of treatment.
The first phase consists of assessing the appropriateness of the individual for CPT
(PTSD diagnosis, treatment priorities, etc.).
The early phase of treatment focuses on psychoeducation – consistent with the theoretical orientation of cognitive-behavioral theory, the client and therapist operate as a team and the client is fully apprised of all facets of his/her recovery.
In CPT, cognitive therapy 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.
This cognitive restructuring process continues while honing cognitive techniques in identifying stuck points in larger trauma themes such as beliefs around safety, trust, power and control, self-esteem, and intimacy. In this stage of therapy, the patient really takes over the reins in session and becomes his/her own therapist with the clinician acting in more of a consultant role.
Finally, a review of the therapeutic journey and planning for the future, including relapse prevention, marks the conclusion of the therapy.
CPT can be conducted in both individual and group settings or a combination of the two.
Source: "Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)"
The Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Individual and group session locations and times will be based on clients' preferences and may be scheduled in our Liberty and Raytown offices. Rob Ukleya, LCSW is the primary therapist providing CPT at TCFHAR.