Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is effective when working with post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a methodology designed to support those who have faced trauma, and are dealing with the challenging aftermath. Trauma is a life-changing event. When it goes untreated, trauma highly impairs our ability to function, relate to others and reach our full potential. Cognitive processing therapy enables you to challenge or shift the unhelpful beliefs that are created after a traumatic experience. CPT empowers you to shift your mentality around the traumatic event. As your mentality shifts, healing from trauma becomes possible. Your therapist will work with you to observe how your experienced trauma has impacted your current thoughts and beliefs, which in turn affect your present actions and behaviors.

As you begin your cognitive processing therapy, you will first learn more about the effects of PTSD on your thoughts and emotions. You will gain awareness regarding how your thoughts and emotions uphold the PTSD symptoms which are negatively affecting your life. Your practitioner may have you write what is called an impact statement, where you explore the causes of your trauma and the way it has impacted your life, others around you, and the world. Once you have this understanding, you face your trauma and the challenging details of the experience. This naturally gives rise to thoughts and feelings which are then processed and understood with the support of your therapist. Through this process, your therapist will help you identify counterproductive and untrue thoughts as you rewire your post-trauma behaviors. Once you understand your negative thinking with more clarity, your therapist will guide you in understanding the distorted beliefs that have been formed as a result of your thoughts. Cognitive processing therapy allows you to establish new, productive beliefs that then restore your quality of life. 

Trauma can impact your worldview and ability to trust others. Challenges with self-esteem, intimacy, power and control, and a sense of safety can also arise after experiencing a traumatic event. These struggles can invoke difficult emotions such as anxiety, fear, shame, and guilt. We can get stuck in these emotions and unhelpful thought patterns without realizing the impact they are having on our lives. Through the identification of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs surrounding trauma, you can rebuild a sense of trust and safety with yourself and with others. CPT helps address beliefs that you may have adopted after experiencing trauma and helps you to move past your trauma to a place of healing and increased well-being. Patients complete their cognitive processing therapy with a restructured worldview and a healthy perspective on their own trauma experience. They are able to truly move forward in their lives, acknowledging the truth around their trauma, but having fully healed from it.

Cognitive processing therapy is helpful for anyone who has been diagnosed with PTSD. Our practitioners at Colorado CBT are trained in CPT and able to support those in Denver struggling with trauma. To learn more and begin treatment, please reach out to make an appointment.