PTSD Treatment: An Overview of Cognitive Therapy

PTSD treatment is typically more efficient and effective the sooner you seek help.

Regularly implementing coping skills, confiding in significant relationships, and medication can be a big help in reducing or eliminating symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.  For many veterans who suffer from PTSD, medication alone will not solve the problem as it is but one of several strategies on dealing with post-deployment stress reactions.  However, there’s much more to treatment than just taking medication.

If you are considering or undergoing treatment for Post Traumatic Stress, there are a variety of therapy models that have been found to work.  According to the National Center for PTSD through the DVA, one of the best treatments involves using cognitive behavioral therapy.

Types of Therapy for PTSD

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on the connection between thoughts and feelings and how they affect the individual.  CBT helps identify and rectify specific thinking patterns linked with distress, especially guilt and shame over decisions that happened during combat.  As a result, guilt, depression, and anxiety are reduced because the event has been reframed and given new meaning.

Another form of cognitive therapy includes exposure therapy, which uses a controlled environment to re-imagine and explore the traumatic events which have led to PTS.  Also called Prolonged Exposure, this technique is tailored to the individual seeking treatment, and in some cases may take multiple sessions to build up to going through the event in its entirety.  Both traditional CBT and exposure therapy techniques have a limited time frame in implementing the treatment with long lasting results.

It’s important to note that different treatment methods work for different people.  Therapy is not meant to change who a person is fundamentally, but to help understand the thoughts and feelings a person experiences in their day to day lives while also helping the individual to cope and move past PTSD and into a healthy, productive life.  The end state of PTS treatment is giving you or your loved one control over their own lives.

If you are experiencing symptoms of PTS and are interested in speaking with a professional about treatment, don’t hesitate to give us a call.  Even if these cognitive therapy isn’t your primary interest, we’d be glad to discuss other options as well.  We’ll be glad to discuss a variety of treatment options and will work with you, creating a safe context for you to move forward.

National Center for PTSD