Article provided by: Arlene Drake, PhD
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a cognitive therapy, which means it's about analyzing and changing our way of thinking and feeling. Particularly, cognitive processing therapy is used for people who have experienced trauma in their lives and may or may not suffer from PTSD. Dr. Arlene Drake is a specialized trauma therapist with more than 30 years of practice in California who accepts local, national, and international patients and offers in-person or Skype therapy sessions.
What Does a Trauma Therapist Do?
CPT takes place by focusing on the meaning that the individual has placed on the trauma itself and their understanding of why it has taken place. Very often, people wrongly blame themselves because we are mostly taught in a just world that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. Therefore, when something bad happens, a lot of people look to themselves and ask, “What did I do wrong?”
Dr. Arlene Drake teaches her trauma patients how to achieve a more balanced way of thinking by analyzing the facts and questioning their conclusions. Distinguishing between thoughts and facts, as simple as it may sound, can help a person see an issue from a more honest and balanced perspective. Often, we beat ourselves up and assign blame to ourselves where blame doesn't belong.
Critical and objective thinking skills can help a person ask important questions and come up with alternative thoughts that are perhaps more balanced and healthy. The secret in the effectiveness of this method is that if a person changes their thoughts, they will change their feelings automatically.
How Long Do I Have to See a Therapist?
A lot of people have stereotypes that therapy takes a long time to complete. They fear that a person has to go to therapy for years to overcome their problems, but that's simply not the case. Most of the cognitive behavioral treatments are very short-term. CPT therapy can be completed in just 12 sessions, and clients are encouraged to do two sessions a week for six weeks. This way, they can be done with their therapy as quickly as possible and take what they need from it. Think about it; six weeks for the rest of a person's life! Does that seem like a worthy and doable investment to you?
When to See a Trauma Therapist?
The sooner you do it, the better! The more often people have therapy sessions, the better the outcomes are. Of course, completing and benefiting from therapy may not mean that you completely get rid of your problems or symptoms. Mental health conditions may persist even after therapy is done. For example, a person who experiences a traumatic event in their lives, and completes cognitive therapy, may go from having five nightmares a week to having only one nightmare every few weeks.
People who see a trauma therapist are usually startled less, they look over their shoulders less often, they don't feel like they are in imminent danger when they are at home, and they start trusting people again. You can see a physical difference between a person before and after treatment. Seeing a trauma therapist can take a load off you.