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.