Cognitive Processing Therapy For Sexual Assault Victims
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is an evidence-based cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders. It draws upon information processing theory and social cognitive theory, with education and exposure components included.
CPT therapy can be delivered individually or in groups. Generally, CPT entails 12 sessions; however, this number may change depending on the client’s response to therapy.
CPT aims to teach victims how to restructure unbalanced thoughts connected to their trauma, thus alleviating symptoms of PTSD and improving quality of life for those affected.
Some clients are asked to write about their sexual assault experience in detail, which may prove challenging at first. However, the writing process can be beneficial in helping them express their emotions and process memories of the trauma.
Therapists may benefit from having more specific information about a client’s traumatic experiences. With this understanding, they can better comprehend the thoughts and emotions related to that trauma.
Sexual assault survivors often develop distorted beliefs about themselves and the world that can have detrimental effects on their mental health and well-being. These distortions may include denial, self-blame, or overgeneralization.
CPT helps sexual assault victims address these distorted beliefs and develop adaptive, schema congruent, and discrepant beliefs to help them cope with their trauma. Examples of such adaptive beliefs include “I can trust people now that I know them”, “I am more in control of my life”, and “I have confidence in myself”.
Cognitive processing beliefs may not be directly caused by trauma, but rather reflect how the victim processes their experiences. A therapist can assist the client in developing new cognitive processing beliefs so that they become adaptive and can be applied to everyday living activities.
Therapists may encourage clients to share their experiences of sexual assault in a safe and supportive setting with others, helping reduce the effects of shame and guilt.
Studies have demonstrated that sexual assault can result in a range of negative emotions such as anger, depression, sadness and guilt. These negative emotions can have an enormous effect on someone’s mood and make it harder for them to manage daily tasks.
Sexual assault survivors need to be able to discuss their trauma with others, as studies have found that those who can speak openly and honestly about their experience tend to recover faster.
To guarantee access for women taking part in this trial, they must live in villages with trained therapists who specialize in working with survivors of sexual violence. These professionals will deliver the CPT program directly to those experiencing sexual assault as part of this trial.