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Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)


This clinician's resource comprises a CPT manual for the treatment of PTSD. Although this version is targeted specifically at military and veteran populations, the procedures are equally applicable to other traumatized groups (see Resick and Schnicke, 1993).

Cognitive Processing Therapy is a manualised 12 session cognitive behavioural treatment for PTSD which offers an alterative to purely exposure based interventions. CPT is gaining a strong evidence base (Resick, Nishith, Weaver, Astin, & Feuer, 2002; Resick & Schnicke, 1992) originally developed for rape and sexual assault, it has also been successfully applied to veterans in the US (Monson et al., 2006) refugees and other trauma.

Author/Publisher Details

Patricia Resick, Candice Monson, & Kathleen Chard (2007), US Department of Veterans' Affairs.


CPT has a smaller exposure component than imaginal exposure therapy and is therefore potentially more acceptable to clients or practitioners seeking alternatives to purely exposure focused treatments. Clients are asked to write about the impact and content of the traumatic memory, and this is read aloud during the sessions. The treatment was originally developed for twice weekly sessions over 6 weeks, but is also effective when given weekly. As a cognitively focused treatment, it also directly targets associated problems such as depression, guilt and anger.


Resick, P. A., Nishith, P., Weaver, T. L., Astin, M. C., & Feuer, C. A. (2002). A comparison of cognitive-processing therapy with prolonged exposure and a waiting condition for the treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder in female rape victims. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 70(4), 867-879.

Resick, P. A., & Schnicke, M. K. (1993). Cognitive processing therapy for sexual assault victims: A treatment manual. Newbury Park CA: Sage Publications.

Resick, P. A., & Schnicke, M. K. (1992). Cognitive processing therapy for sexual assault victims. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60(5), 748-756.

Monson, C. M., Schnurr, P. P., Resick, P. A., Friedman, M. J., Young-Xu, Y., & Stevens, S. P. (2006). Cognitive processing therapy for veterans with military-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(5), 898-907.

Training Requests

Note that only appropriately trained clinicians with experience in cognitive behavioral theory and therapy should attempt to use this treatment manual. Practitioners without this background are strongly advised to obtain training and supervision in general CBT approaches prior to implementing the approaches described in this manual.

This resource should be used in an ethical and responsible manner and should be used only for the purpose(s) for which it has demonstrable validity. Please observe copyright where indicated and reference it appropriately.

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