Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)


This intensive two-day module provides training in CPT, an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. It presents theory underlying CPT, a brief overview of CPT’s empirical support, and step-by-step instructions in CPT protocol techniques. Throughout the workshop strategies for conceptualizing and dealing with co-morbidity, managing avoidance, and keeping patients optimally engaged are provided. Video clips of expert therapists demonstrate CPT skills, and participants are asked to do role-plays and other assignments to learn concepts and practice skills. Attendance on both days is required. For in-person training events, participants will receive Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD: A Comprehensive Manual by Resick et al., Dec 2016 (1st Edition) as part of the workshop.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Characterize symptoms of PTSD through the lens of CPT theory.

  2. Substantiate some of the empirical evidence of CPT’s effectiveness in reducing PTSD.

  3. Consider co-morbid psychological disorders, and personality and environmental factors.

  4. Include methods of assessing CPT treatment effectiveness.

  5. Implement the CPT standard protocol with individual patients diagnosed with PTSD.

  6. Articulate CPT practice assignments and rationale.

  7. Communicate role of avoidance in CPT.

  8. Present two primary types of emotions.

  9. Implement structured treatment protocol.

  10. Communicate the goals of treatment.

  11. Evaluate treatment compliance.

  12. Point out the concept of stuck points.

  13. Articulate the concepts behind the five themes.

  14. Practice the use of Socratic Dialogue.


I. Introduction to CPT theory and implementation

II. Empirical Support for CPT

III. PTSD and its treatment

A. DSM5 criteria for PTSD
B. Functional model of PTSD
C. Expected recovery model
D. Hindered recovery model
E. Neurobiological model

IV. Cognitive theory underlying CPT

V. CPT manual and phases of treatment

VI. Phase 1: Pre-treatment issues

A. Comorbidities
B. Assessment
C. Structuring sessions

VII. Phase 2: Education regarding PTSD, thoughts, and emotions

A. Session 1: Overview of PTSD and CPT
B. Session 2: Examining the impact of trauma
C. Session 3: Working with events, thoughts, and emotions

VIII. Phase 3: Processing the trauma

A. Session 4: Examining the index event and introducing the Challenging Questions worksheet
B. Principles of Socratic dialogue
C. Session 5: Challenging thoughts and introducing the Patterns of Problematic Thinking worksheet

IX. Phase 4: Learning to Challenge

A. Session 6: Continuing to challenge thoughts and introducing the Challenging Beliefs worksheet
B. Session 7: Using the Challenging Belifs worksheet and introducing the trauma themes

X. Phase 5 Trauma Themes, Session 8-11

A. Safety
B. Trust
C. Power/Control
D. Esteem
E. Intimacy

XI. Phase 6: Facing the Future

A. Session 12: Reviewing progress and identifying addtional goals

XII. Modified version of CPT: CPT + written account (CPT+A) 

A. Comparing CPT and CPT+A
B. Introducing and processing the trauma account

XIII. Additional resources

XIV. Questions and wrap-up

Duration: 840 minutes (10 minute break required every 90 minutes). Course covers two days