Change Your Thoughts and Change How You Feel
Understanding PTSD and the Benefits of Cognitive Processing Therapy
If you have experienced or witnessed a terrifying event you may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Most people who go through a traumatic experience will have some challenges adjusting and coping with what has occurred and in time they will feel better. But for some people things get worse. PTSD, symptoms last for months or even years and interfere with every day functioning. Symptoms may start immediately after the trauma or years later.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
- Intrusive and distressing memories of the trauma reoccur and may cause flashbacks (reliving the experience), upsetting dreams and severe emotional reactions to something that is a reminder of the trauma.
- Avoiding thinking or talking about the trauma. Avoiding people and places that are a reminder of the trauma.
- Negative thinking about oneself and others. Feeling hopelessness about the future.
- Feeling emotionally numb. Having difficulty experiencing positive emotions.
- Having a lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed. Feeling detached from friends and family. Having difficulty maintaining close relationships.
- Memory problems which may include not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event.
- Being easily startled or frightened. Always being on guard for danger.
- Having trouble sleeping.
- Having trouble concentrating.
- Self-destructive behavior such as drinking too much or high-risk activities.
- Feeling irritable. Having angry outburst or acting in an aggressive manner.
- Having an intense reaction to reminders of the traumatic event.
- Having suicidal thoughts. A person having suicidal thoughts needs immediate help.
What is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)?
Experiencing a trauma can change the way you think about yourself and the world around you. Perhaps you blame yourself for what happened or have lost faith that things can be okay again. Having these thoughts can cause you to experience symptoms of PTSD.
In CPT a client learns how to challenge and modify upsetting thoughts and unhelpful beliefs. Clients learn skills to help them evaluate and consider a different prospective on the trauma which cab bring them to a place of healing, a reduction of the negative impacts of the trauma.
CPT is a specific type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that was originally developed to help people who had experienced sexual violence. It has since been proven to be effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD that have developed after experiencing a variety of traumatic events including military combat, child abuse, natural disasters and severe accidents.