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What is Cognitive Processing Therapy?

Nov 25, 2022

Cognitive Processing Therapy, or CPT, is a form of therapy that has been shown to be effective in helping people who have experienced trauma. CPT is a talk therapy designed to help people understand and process their traumatic experiences and reduce the painful symptoms related to their trauma. It is also an effective treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. This blog post will discuss the basics of Cognitive Processing Therapy and how it can help you or someone you know who has experienced trauma.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

What is CPT?

CPT is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The goal of CPT is to help people change their maladaptive thinking patterns and behaviors related to the traumatic experience. It was originally developed in the 1980s to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but has since been shown to be effective with a variety of mental health disorders. PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. People with PTSD may experience a variety of symptoms, including struggles with sleep, feeling scared or angry, and avoidance of people, places, or things that remind them of the trauma.

CPT can help people with PTSD by teaching them new ways of thinking about their trauma. For example, people with PTSD may believe they are to blame for the trauma. CPT can help people challenge these thoughts and learn to see the trauma more realistically. CPT can also help people with PTSD cope with their symptoms and reduce avoidance of things that remind them of the trauma. CPT has demonstrated efficacy in individuals with a variety of traumatic experiences, such as childhood and sexual trauma, as well as trauma due to combat or military deployment. CPT has also been found to be effective in treating other mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.

How Does CPT work?

There are a few different methods that are used in Cognitive Processing Therapy. One of the most common methods is called cognitive restructuring. This method helps people to identify and challenge negative thought patterns. For example, if you’re constantly thinking, “I’m not good enough,” cognitive restructuring would help you to identify that thought pattern and challenge it.

Another common method used in Cognitive Processing Therapy is exposure therapy. This method involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that trigger your anxiety or depression. For example, if you’re afraid of heights, exposure therapy might involve slowly walking up a flight of stairs. As you expose yourself to your triggers, you’ll learn how to better cope with them.

CPT focuses on changing negative thoughts and beliefs that are causing distress.

During an individual session, your therapist will help you to identify the thoughts that may be causing you distress and help you challenge them. During a session, you will also learn skills to help you cope with difficult emotions and situations. CPT typically lasts for 12-16 sessions, although some people may need more or less sessions.

Cognitive processing therapy may be a good option for you if you are struggling with mental health issues. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. If you think CPT could help you, reach out today. We are here to help.


Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for mental illnesses and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting wellness.

For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.

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