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Rediscovering Resilience: Healing from Trauma with Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

Cognitive processing therapy for trauma

Trauma can leave an indelible imprint on the mind and soul, often manifesting in inconvenient or disabling ways in the present. Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) can help individuals heal from experiences of trauma by teaching them to engage in a process of understanding, reframing, and reclaiming their narratives. This blog post provides an overview of the key tenets and therapeutic application of CPT.


Key Tenets of Cognitive Processing Therapy: Illuminating the Path to Healing


Cognitive Restructuring


At the core of CPT lies the principle of cognitive restructuring. This process involves identifying and challenging maladaptive beliefs that have emerged in the aftermath of trauma. By fostering a shift in thought patterns, individuals gain the power to reconstruct their cognitive landscapes.


Understanding Stuck Points


Stuck points are cognitive obstacles that hinder the healing journey. These are entrenched beliefs that may contribute to feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame. CPT guides individuals to recognize and address these stuck points, fostering a compassionate reevaluation of self-perceptions.


Mindfulness and Awareness


Mindfulness practices are interwoven into CPT, providing a foundation for present-moment awareness. This mindfulness invites individuals to engage with their thoughts and emotions without judgment, creating a space for self-compassion and exploration.


Challenging Assumptions


CPT encourages a systematic examination of assumptions that may have developed in the aftermath of trauma. By challenging these assumptions, individuals uncover new perspectives and a more nuanced understanding of their experiences.


Narrative Reconstruction


The therapeutic journey in CPT involves the reconstruction of one's narrative. Through written accounts and verbal exploration, individuals gain agency in crafting a cohesive and empowered story that integrates the complexities of their traumatic experiences.


Navigating the Therapeutic Landscape: CPT in Action


Building a Therapeutic Alliance

The journey to healing trauma through CPT begins with the establishment of a strong therapeutic alliance. A safe and trusting space is co-created, allowing individuals to share their experiences without fear of judgment. This alliance becomes the foundation for exploration and healing.




CPT involves psychoeducation, providing individuals with an understanding of the impact of trauma on cognition and emotions. This knowledge empowers them to navigate the therapeutic process with a sense of agency and informed awareness.


Written Accounts and Socratic Dialogue


Engaging in written accounts and Socratic dialogue forms the heart of CPT sessions. Individuals are encouraged to express their thoughts and emotions on paper, allowing for structured reflection. Socratic dialogue facilitates guided exploration, challenging and reframing cognitive patterns.


Homework Assignments


CPT extends beyond the therapy room through structured homework assignments. These assignments serve as bridges between sessions, fostering ongoing reflection and integration of therapeutic insights into daily life.


Closing Thoughts: A Tapestry of Empowerment


As we navigate the intricate tapestry of healing from trauma with CPT, we recognize that it is a collaborative and empowering process. It's an invitation to rediscover resilience, reframe narratives, and embark on a journey toward renewed self-perception.


Author: Dr. Megan Williams, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Megan Williams Psychology, LLC

IG: @meganwilliamspsychology



Looking for a therapist in Maryland? Call (410) 617-9699 or visit to schedule a free 15-minute consult with Dr. Megan Williams.



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