Cognitive Processing Therapy Manual
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an established, evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. It typically lasts 12 sessions and can be delivered individually, in groups, or via video-teleconferencing formats.
CPT (Comprehensive Psychoeducation Therapy) was initially created to treat sexual assault survivors; however, it has since spread to a variety of trauma populations such as military personnel and veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CPT primarily utilizes cognitive-behavioral techniques like psychoeducation and Socratic dialogue in order to identify and challenge maladaptive thinking about a traumatic event.
Through Socratic dialogue and progressive written assignments, patients are taught to identify and alter their negative thoughts and beliefs about a traumatic event. This process is known as cognitive restructuring, with patients guided in replacing unhelpful beliefs with more balanced alternative statements.
CPT is now widely recognized as an effective and preferred treatment for PTSD by both the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, as well as by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
The CPT manual has evolved over the years as research has been done to demonstrate its usefulness for various trauma populations and histories. As a result, the current edition contains detailed session agendas, clinical vignettes and example worksheets that clinicians can customize according to their unique client base.
This comprehensive manual offers the latest research and clinical guidelines that must be considered when using CPT in any setting. It is the first manual to provide a comprehensive overview of all aspects of CPT, from its history and key findings to critical implementation issues.
One of the greatest difficulties for trauma survivors is recognizing and changing their negative thinking about their experience. Through CPT, a patient’s therapist assists them in recognizing this maladaptive thinking by using Socratic questioning and cognitive restructuring worksheets.
At the start of CPT, patients work with their therapist to identify and challenge negative thinking about a traumatic event. They’ll learn cognitive restructuring strategies they can use both independently and in the therapist’s office.
Negative thinking after a traumatic event often includes self-blame, shame and hindsight bias. These thoughts can impede recovery from PTSD and slow the healing process.
At the start of each session, clients are encouraged to write down their negative thoughts about a traumatic event and discuss these with their therapist. After exploring how these negative emotions and beliefs have contributed to their symptoms, the therapist works together with the client to uncover why these thoughts have occurred.
The therapist will guide the patient in learning and practicing cognitive restructuring strategies, with homework assigned at home to continue the process. This type of self-guided treatment can be especially beneficial for trauma survivors with limited budgets or who cannot access traditional therapy appointments.