Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related problems.  The overall goals of CPT are to improve your PTSD symptoms, and associated symptoms such as depression, anxiety, guilt, and shame.  It also aims to improve your day-to-day living.  


CPT consists of 12 therapy sessions.  In these sessions you will learn about the symptoms of PTSD and why we believe that some people develop it.  You will also identify and explore how your trauma(s) have changed your thoughts and beliefs, and how some of these ways of thinking may keep you “stuck” in your symptoms.  CPT does not involve repeatedly reviewing the details of your trauma(s).    However, you will be asked to write about your experiences in order to understand how they have affected your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.



Since brains are designed to change throughout our lifetime, the goal is to help our brains evolve in becoming healthier and happier using three evidence-based approaches: bottom-up, top- down, and horizontal techniques.

Bottom-up techniques utilize body sensations and awareness to change the brain, especially the areas of the brain that are typically outside our conscious awareness or control.  Examples of bottom-up approaches include body scans, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, yoga, and some meditations.

Top-down techniques engage the mind to create change in the brain, especially the higher cortical brain areas that are altered by our thoughts. Examples of top-down approaches include talk therapy, acceptance and commitment techniques (ACT), trauma-focused interventions, and some meditations.

Horizontal techniques change the brain through cross-modality processing and focus on the non verbal parts of our brain, where many memories and sensory connections are made. Examples to horizontal approaches are art, music, and movement therapies. 

Studies continue to support that sustainable healing is a result of multiple approaches to brain change, as recovery tends to be more efficient, and result in faster, more dramatic brain changes. 

(Adapted from Sweeton, J. (2019). Trauma treatment toolbox: 165 brain changing tips, tools & handouts to move therapy forward.  Eau Claire, WI: PESI Publishing & Media). 

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) teaches mindfulness skills to help you live and behave in ways that are consistent with personal values while developing a sense of psychological flexibility. This is accomplished by learning to recognize your attempts to suppress, manage and control emotional experiences that create challenges. By recognizing and addressing these challenges, you can become better able to make room for values-based actions that empower a sense of well-being.

By learning to accept things as they come without making a judgment or attempt to change these circumstances, you develop a new, compassionate relationship with these circumstances. This shift from difficulty in attempting to control your experiences to become more open to actions that are consistent with your value system, creates your ability to be present, open up, to do what matters.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy).

CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. 


CBT can be a very helpful tool in treating symptoms such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder.

CBT can be an effective tool to help anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations in general.



Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive therapy that provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. Research shows that DBT has also been used successfully to treat people experiencing depression, bulimia, binge-eating, 

bipolar disorder, post-traumatic-stress disorder, and substance abuse.

DBT skills are thought to have the capability of helping those who wish to improve their ability to regulate emotions, tolerate distress and negative emotion, be mindful and present in the given moment, and communicate and interact effectively with others.

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Comprehensive Resource Model is a unique form of trauma treatment that uses breathing techniques, grounding skills and guided imagery to witness and heal our internal parts from trauma. The goal is to bring the mind and body to an internal state of neurobiological safety.


When we feel safe and secure, we can begin to experience memories that were previously intolerable and then create new meaning from those painful events. Comprehensive Resource Model helps us to witness our past intolerable pain in a safe way and as a result builds a sense of fortitude as well as reshaping and expanding the painful events. 



Mindfulness Self-Compassion (MSC) is a powerful tool for building emotional resilience. Mindfulness practice is the first step in emotional healing through acknowledging our difficult thoughts and feelings, and a willingness to explore these sensations with curiosity. 


Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult experiences with kindness, so we can self-soothe when we feel hurt. Research continues to show that self-compassion and mindfulness greatly enhance our emotional wellbeing.

Being both mindful and compassionate allows us to access feelings of joy, reduces depression and anxiety, supports our physical health, and deepens our desired connection with others. 

Adapted from The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion 

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