CBT for PTSD Therapy

Looking for a therapy solution to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? The American Psychological Association highly recommends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as an approach to PTSD treatment. 

What Is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that hones in on the relationship between your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. For example, changing your “unhelpful thinking” can potentially help you to form healthier behavioral habits, leading to an improvement in the way you regulate your emotions. Trauma-focused CBT usually involves specific exercises given by your therapist that can help you change small things to make a big impact on your life. 

How Does CBT Help? 

Trauma-based CBT focuses on your current issues and any symptoms you’re facing that are diminishing your quality of life, including any issues and any symptoms you’re presenting (anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc).  CBT is generally administered over a period of twelve to sixteen sessions and can be done either in individual or group therapy settings. Here at Grouport we offer online group therapy for PTSD and trauma; if you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, we can help match you with a suitable therapy group to get you started on your CBT journey.

What Does CBT Entail?

There are various different ways a CBT therapist or mental health professional may work with their patients to improve their functioning and lower their PTSD symptoms. Some techniques might include:

  • Planning for potential crisis and stress management; this can help the client deal with triggering or otherwise unsettling situations.
  • Exposure to the trauma narrative and other reminders of the trauma in question; this can help the client reduce avoidant behaviors and other maladaptive associations they have with their trauma.
  • Motivating clients to re-evaluate their assumptions and patterns of thinking; this can help identify maladaptive thought patterns.

 

Why Does CBT Work?

There are a variety of trauma-specific theories that explain the ways in which CBT can aid individuals who are suffering from symptoms related to PTSD. Some such theories include:

Social Cognitive Theory (Benight & Bandura, 2004)

This theory suggests that individuals who attempt to reframe their traumatic experiences within existing beliefs regarding themselves and the world around them tend to have maladaptive understanding regarding their perceptions of control (of themselves or the environment) and the traumatic experience itself. For example, if an individual who believes that negative things happen to “bad” people gets violated by another person, they will believe that they were violated because they themselves are a “bad” person. Their cognitive behavioral therapist, in turn, will be able to understand their thought process, which will allow them to use CBT strategies to abate these thoughts in the most effective way possible.

Emotional Processing Theory (Rauch & Foa, 2006)

This theory speculates that individuals who have undergone a traumatic experience may make associations among “objectively safe” reminders of said experience (such as situations, people, or news stories), meaning (such as the world is “unsafe,”), and responses (such as feeling fearful or numb). For example, an individual suffering from PTSD may encounter a news story from the time period in which they were traumatized; this can, in turn, cause them to feel that the world is unsafe and lead them to feel irrationally afraid. Using cognitive behavioral therapy to change these associations that often cause unhealthy functioning is, in fact, the essence of emotional processing.

Grouport offers online group therapy for a variety of mental health struggles, including but not limited to PTSD through trauma focused CBT. Enroll today to receive a 20-minute initial consultation with a trained intake coordinator and be matched with the perfect group to help you on your journey. You can find answers to more FAQs here.

November 30, 2021

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