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  • Writer's pictureEmmily Weldon

Demystifying Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

In the realm of trauma-focused therapies, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a powerful and effective approach to healing. If you or someone you know has experienced trauma or is seeking therapy, understanding what CPT is and how it works can be the first step toward a path of healing and recovery. In this blog post, we demystify Cognitive Processing Therapy, shedding light on its principles, techniques, and benefits.

What is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)?

CPT is a evidence-based therapeutic approach primarily used to treat individuals who have experienced trauma, particularly those struggling with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It's based on the understanding that the way we think about and make sense of traumatic events can profoundly impact our emotional well-being.

How Does CPT Work? CPT is a structured therapy that typically consists of 12 sessions, although the number of sessions can vary depending on individual needs. Here's an overview of how CPT works:

  1. Education and Understanding: The therapy begins with education about PTSD and how it affects thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Clients gain insight into the nature of trauma and its impact on the mind.

  2. Identifying Trauma-Related Thoughts: Clients are guided to recognize and record their trauma-related thoughts. These thoughts often involve self-blame, guilt, or distorted perceptions of the traumatic event.

  3. Challenging Beliefs: With the help of the therapist, clients learn to challenge and reevaluate these beliefs. They explore the evidence supporting or refuting these thoughts.

  4. Restructuring Thought Patterns: CPT aims to restructure thought patterns by encouraging clients to develop more balanced and accurate ways of thinking about their traumatic experiences. This is not thought swapping or finding positive thoughts, but exploring those thoughts in a nonjudgemental way to see if there may be a different way to think about it that could be more helpful, effective, and realistic.

  5. Emotional Processing: Clients work through their emotions related to the trauma in a safe and supportive environment. This process allows for emotional healing and acceptance.

Why Choose CPT? Cognitive Processing Therapy offers several advantages:

  • Empirical Support: CPT is supported by extensive research and has been found effective in reducing PTSD symptoms and improving overall well-being.

  • Structured Approach: The structured nature of CPT provides a clear roadmap for clients, helping them track their progress and work toward specific goals.

  • Empowerment: CPT empowers individuals to challenge and change their thought patterns, giving them a sense of control over their healing process.

  • Long-Lasting Benefits: Many clients find that the skills learned in CPT continue to benefit them long after therapy has concluded.

Cognitive Processing Therapy is a valuable tool in the journey toward healing from trauma. By demystifying CPT, we hope to encourage those in need to consider this evidence-based approach as a means of reclaiming their lives and well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with the aftermath of trauma, remember that help is available, and CPT may be a path to healing worth exploring.

If you are searching for a therapist or counselor you can use a directory service where you can narrow your search based on types of therapy, insurance, location, etc.. Counselor directories to get started can include or mental health match. Here at Mindful Solutions, CPT is an area of specialty. If you are interested in connecting directly with Mindful Solutions you can reach out via email (, phone (619-353-5139), or book your free 30 minute consultation on our website!

Remember, healing is possible, and you don't have to walk this path alone.

*Although I am a therapist by profession, I am not YOUR therapist. This article is for informational and educational purposes only, does not replace therapy and does not establish any kind of therapist-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information. To see more information about our disclamer(s):

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