What is Cognitive Processing Therapy?

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Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a short-term, in-depth type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that focuses specifically on negative thoughts people have about themselves and the world due to trauma they experienced. CPT was developed specifically for people diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a highly structured approach to therapy.

Each CPT session has a specific activity or goal in mind, designed to be implemented in one-hour sessions. First, your CPT therapist will talk with you about key concepts, including the effects of trauma and PTSD on mental health. After this, your CPT therapist will go through negative thoughts and how what’s referred to as your “stuck points” can make healing from trauma difficult. The next stages include recounting the details of the trauma you experienced, which CPT practitioners say is key to identifying related problematic thoughts about the self or the world that developed from the trauma.

Identifying stuck points is critical to the healing process. These unhelpful beliefs can contain untrue information, such as “I am a bad person and deserved for my trauma to happen to me.” Your therapist will work with you to challenge these thoughts. Challenging these stuck points can help you regain a sense of power and control over your thoughts, which can lessen trauma symptoms.

Learning positive coping skills is the final step in Cognitive Processing, where you and your therapist work together to establish activities that help you deal with trauma symptoms in ways that enhance your life and move toward your healing goals.

Therapists Who Specialize in Using Cognitive Processing Therapy

Dr. John Meigs



***I am not currently accepting new patients*** I am a licensed psychologist, with an emphasis on treating depression, anxiety, trauma, and addiction. I completed a clinical internship within the VA hospital system and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. I approach therapy from a relational stance with a focus on helping you gain insight into your relationship patterns and…

Naureen Dharani (She Her)

New York

New York

I first and foremost come from a south asian background. Growing up, I had difficulties navigating my parents well-intentioned parenting styles which led me to becoming someone who did not know how to process emotions, communicate my needs, and accept myself for who I am. Through my own therapy I have overcome many struggles I presently observe in the South Asian community. I have to come reali...

Tim Parker PhD, LMFT

Cedar Park


I work with couples, individuals, and families who want to live a life in line with what they value. Too often we feel down, depressed, or anxious because how we are currently living does not line up with what we value. I help guide clients to a values aligned life.
Behavioral health, wellness, and coaching services, providing behavioral medicine services and education for individuals, couples, children, and families with a wide variety of problems. Treatment provided by therapists, dieticians, life coaches, health coaches, and relationship coaches to meet specific needs.