Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

Trauma can happen to anyone. Many associate trauma with things like PTSD and the military, but trauma is a serious mental health condition that can develop through many situations in life. Things like accidents, the unexpected death of a loved one, domestic violence, and even discrimination can all be traumatic to the point where professional treatment is necessary. Trauma therapy is a multifaceted approach to healing that targets the source of the trauma so someone can effectively process and overcome it. One of the most effective evidence-based treatments for trauma is Cognitive Processing Therapy, or CPT, which is a form of psychotherapy that helps people identify and challenge their thinking and behavior following a traumatic experience.

Aliya Health Group uses CPT and various other psychotherapies for trauma at our treatment locations across the country. If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or any other kind of trauma, cognitive processing therapy is an option for healing. Reach out to the professional therapy team at Aliya Health Group today and we can help you heal.  

What Is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)?

Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a variation of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It is specifically designed to help people who have experienced trauma. In particular, it helps treat those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other forms of trauma.

Trauma can change the way you think about yourself and the world. You may develop negative beliefs about yourself, the world, or the future. These beliefs can make it difficult to move on from your trauma and can worsen your PTSD symptoms.

CPT helps you identify and challenge these negative beliefs. It teaches you how to develop more balanced and helpful ways of thinking about your trauma. Changing your thoughts can change how you feel and improve your quality of life.

Cognitive Processing Therapy vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are both forms of therapy. They can be very helpful in treating a number of issues, but there are some key differences in their approaches.

One of the most significant ways these two therapies differ is their focus. CBT takes a broader approach and addresses a variety of mental health concerns. This may include issues like anxiety, depression, phobias, and OCD.

CBT focuses on the connection between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It helps individuals identify and change their negative thought patterns. CPT, on the other hand, more specifically focuses on treating individuals with trauma and PTSD.

CPT helps you focus on processing and coming to terms with a traumatic event. Through this therapy, you can develop healthier beliefs about yourself, the world, and your future. This is one of the main ways in which these two therapies differ.

CBT can also be more flexible than CPT, which typically follows a defined treatment plan. CPT uses specific techniques and worksheets, whereas CBT prioritizes talk therapy.

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What Does Cognitive Processing Therapy Treat?

Cognitive processing therapy is a specific type of therapy designed to help people deal with the aftermath of trauma. It’s particularly effective for treating PTSD. This condition typically develops after someone experiences a very frightening or dangerous event.

There are several ways in which CPT can help with PTSD, including:

Identifying negative thoughts: People with PTSD often develop negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves and their surroundings. This is a result of their trauma and can be very difficult to deal with. CPT helps them identify these unhelpful thinking patterns.

Challenge negative thoughts: Once they are identified, the therapist challenges the client. This allows them to develop more balanced and realistic beliefs.

Reduce emotional distress: By changing negative thought patterns, CPT aims to reduce emotional distress caused by trauma. This may include feelings such as anxiety, anger, guilt, and shame.

CPT equips people with the tools to process their traumatic experiences. It helps them develop healthier ways of thinking and improve their day-to-day functioning. This form of therapy can be crucial for people struggling with severe trauma and PTSD.

CPT for Substance Abuse

CPT is based on the idea that people who misuse substances often have negative thoughts and beliefs. These negative thoughts can make coping with stress and difficult emotions more difficult. As a result, they turn to substance use as a way of coping.

In CPT, people learn to identify these negative thoughts and to challenge them. This is done by developing more realistic and helpful thinking patterns. For example, someone who believes they are a failure because they have relapsed might be helped to see that relapse is a standard part of recovery.

Many people in recovery will experience a relapse at some point. CPT can help them realize that this is not a sign of failure but a standard curveball in recovery. It can also give them the motivation they need to stay committed to their sobriety.

CPT for Mental Health Disorders

As discussed, CPT is most commonly used for treating PTSD. In some cases, though, it can also be used to treat other mental health disorders. CPT’s focus on changing thought processes can be helpful for those struggling with issues like anxiety and depression.

Individuals with these conditions can learn to live more fulfilling lives by changing their thoughts and subsequent behaviors. Of course, CPT is best used in conjunction with other treatment methods for those struggling with more severe mental health problems.

CPT for Co-Occurring Disorders

CPT shows promise for treating co-occurring disorders. In particular, it can help those that involve PTSD alongside another mental health issue or substance use disorder. This is because CPT works by addressing the root causes of these problems.

Many co-occurring disorders, especially those involving PTSD, can have a cyclical relationship. For instance, someone with PTSD might use substances to cope with trauma memories. Over time, this can lead to addiction.

CPT helps address the underlying trauma and its negative thought patterns. This can help reduce the need for unhealthy coping mechanisms. This can be crucial to those in recovery who need support avoiding relapse and staying on track with their sobriety.

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Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD

CPT is a specific type of talk therapy. It is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy but specifically targets PTSD. It helps individuals who have experienced a traumatic event address the negative thoughts, beliefs, and emotional responses that can arise from that experience.

During CPT, a therapist guides their client through questioning the evidence for these negative thoughts. This helps them develop more balanced and realistic perspectives. It also equips them with tools to manage their emotions and cope with difficult thoughts and memories.

How Does CPT Therapy Help Process Trauma?

Trauma can profoundly impact how you see the world and yourself. CPT helps process trauma by explicitly targeting the negative thought patterns that arise from those experiences. By doing this, CPT enables you to process the experience more healthily. This can lead to:

How Does Cognitive Processing Therapy Work?

CPT can be an intensive therapy, so it is essential to know what to expect ahead of time. There are several steps involved in CPT. While your sessions may look a bit different depending on your specific situation and needs, they will generally include the following:

Education: You will learn about PTSD. Specifically, your therapy will teach you how thoughts and emotions are connected and the impact of trauma on thinking.

Identifying Thinking Patterns: Your therapist will help you recognize unhelpful automatic thoughts that arise after the trauma. These might be thoughts of blame, guilt, or feeling unsafe.

Impact Statement: You will write a statement detailing how the trauma has impacted you. This might include changes to how you view yourself, others, and the world.

Trauma Narrative: You will write a detailed account of your most impactful traumatic experience. Reading this in therapy can help with processing difficult emotions.

Challenging Thoughts: The therapist uses techniques like Socratic questioning to help you see your thoughts differently. This will help you identify evidence that contradicts negative thinking patterns.

What Are the Goals of CPT?

There are several goals of cognitive processing therapy. These goals mainly aim to help people recover from PTSD and other issues. Some of the main goals involved in this form of treatment include:

What to Expect in CPT

CPT can be an intensive therapy form, so knowing what to expect can help you feel prepared and confident for your first session. During your initial sessions, you can generally expect your therapist to educate you on PTSD and how it affects you.

They will also work with you to set specific goals for your treatment. You may talk briefly about the traumatic experience that you experienced. However, your therapist likely will not pressure you to provide extensive details during your first session.

Cognitive restructuring is a crucial part of CPT. As you progress through your sessions, you will learn to identify negative thought patterns related to your trauma. Your therapist will work with you to help you develop more balanced and helpful ways of thinking. This might include completing writing exercises and other activities.

CPT is a collaborative effort, so it’s important to actively participate in sessions and complete any homework assignments your therapist gives you. The overall duration of treatment can vary depending on your individual needs. Typically, though, CPT involves weekly sessions for 12 weeks.

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What Are the Benefits of Cognitive Processing Therapy?

Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) offers a range of benefits for people struggling with trauma and PTSD. Some of the main benefits associated with CPT include:

Overall, CPT empowers you to take charge of your healing process and build a more fulfilling life. It offers a structured therapeutic environment that has shown great effectiveness in helping people move forward from trauma.

How Effective is CPT?

Cognitive processing therapy is considered to be a highly effective treatment for PTSD. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, CPT is the most recommended treatment for PTSD in every clinical practice guideline.

It is a highly effective form of treatment for veterans and other groups suffering from PTSD. In particular, it has proven helpful in reducing PTSD symptoms and improving the quality of life among participants.

Can CPT Help Me?

If you are struggling with PTSD or another behavioral health condition, CPT can be a very effective treatment option for you. What forms of therapy will best work for you can vary depending on your specific situation and needs.

At Aliya, our treatment centers take an individualized approach to recovery. They will work with you one-on-one to determine what levels of care and treatment options will best suit your needs.

Tips for Successful Cognitive Processing Therapy

If you are interested in cognitive processing therapy, several tips are available to help you prepare for a successful session. It is important to remember that there is no wrong way of engaging in treatment.

That said, here are some tips you can follow to put your best foot forward when starting CPT:

Actively participate: CPT is a collaborative effort. The more actively you participate in sessions, the better your results will be. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; be open with your therapist.

Be open to exploring difficult emotions: Trauma can bring up a range of difficult emotions. CPT will involve facing these emotions head-on, but your therapist will guide you through the process in a safe and supportive environment.

Challenge your thinking: A core aspect of CPT is identifying and challenging negative thought patterns related to your trauma. Be open to examining these thoughts critically and considering alternative perspectives.

Practice what you learn: CPT equips you with skills for managing your thoughts and emotions. Practicing these skills outside of therapy is important to solidify the positive changes you are making.

Be patient: Healing from trauma takes time. It is important not to get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. CPT is a gradual process. With consistent effort, you will experience significant progress.

Communicate with your therapist: Open communication is critical to a successful therapeutic relationship. Let your therapist know if you are struggling with CPT or have any questions or concerns.

Does Insurance Cover CPT?

Many insurance plans cover CBT, but coverage for CPT may vary depending on your specific provider and plan. To find out what kind of coverage you may be able to receive, you can speak directly with your insurance provider.

Our admissions specialists can also help you verify your insurance coverage. Reach out to us today to learn more about our treatment programs and whether your insurance will cover treatment. We can also discuss our payment options and help you find a plan that works for you. 

We accept health insurance

We accept most major health insurance providers on both a national and local level. We currently work with the following insurance plans:

Check to see if your insurance is in-network at one of our rehab facilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before entering outpatient treatment for substance abuse, most people have a long list of questions and concerns. To help you gain a better understanding of what to expect during outpatient programs, we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions.

Is smoking allowed in outpatient treatment?

Yes, our rehabilitation facilities have designated smoking areas available. However, kindly note that all cigarettes brought into the facility must be in unopened packs or cartons. The same rule applies to any cigarettes sent or brought by family or friends. Our staff will be more than happy to provide you with additional details regarding these guidelines during the admission process.

Do you offer payment plans for outpatient rehab?

Yes, in most cases, we can offer repayment options tailored to your unique circumstances. For more details regarding personal repayment options, we recommend reaching out to our admissions team. They’ll be more than happy to assist you.

What insurance providers do you accepts?

We accept all major insurance plans at our treatment locations. To learn more about insurance and treatment cost, contact our admissions team or fill out our secure insurance verification form.

Do you offer outpatient mental health treatment?

Yes, we provide integrative dual diagnostics alongside a wide array of treatment modalities. Our core objective revolves around tackling addiction, while simultaneously addressing the underlying factors that contribute to substance use disorders. Our mission is to deliver effective and holistic care that encompasses both symptom management and the exploration of root causes of addiction.

Is outpatient treatment affordable?

In terms of cost, outpatient treatment is typically more affordable than inpatient options which require round-the-clock medical supervision. This makes it a viable solution for individuals who may be deterred from seeking help due to financial constraints.

“I highly recommend this facility for anyone needing treatment. The staff isn’t just nice and genuine there but instead one big family. Whether it’s the owner, housing manager, or a bht you get the best down to earth genuine care. The material they teach in group is very helpful also.”