As someone who has been through trauma and survived it, I find this form of treatment [Cognitive Processing Therapy or CPT] to be the best and most healing of those that are out there for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). This is a way of being involved in the treatment process – directly. It is a technique that helps one to look at their beliefs, through the help of a psychotherapist and re-examine them in a non-traumatic setting. It is not re-traumatizing (but your symptoms can elevate at first) and you are doing all the work. There are other techniques for working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and you should find the one that fits best for you.

CPT is a 12 week process but you don’t begin the minute you walk in the door. The trained psychotherapist must take the time to get to know you and build trust with you. Once you are able to feel you can trust your therapist and you feel ready to tackle your trauma, then it is time to begin. I try to take a lot of time preparing people. I take even more time as I become more experienced because I don’t want to get started, only to stop. This is even more difficult for me because I know what the client is giving up. It is not so difficult for the client in the sense that they are escaping and this is going back to normal for them. It is easy to feel afraid because it is possibilities that are unknown and seem undeserving to the client. When something is unknown, it feels as if you have no control. When you feel undeserving, you push it away. This is sad but understandable.

When you are a trauma survivor, you spend your life trying to control everything. This manifests through various diagnoses or defense mechanisms that a client has created to protect themselves. It is the ego trying not to listen to the inner voice and being afraid of the intuition or wondering what is intuition. When a person feels they are in control, they feel that nothing can harm them. Unfortunately though, this means they are often creating walls so that not even the good can come in. When the survivor sees good, they fear it is evil, especially if the good is reminiscent of that which was once bad. For example, your perpetrator always wore a red shirt. When you meet your psychotherapist, she has a red shirt on or there are red flowers in the room or something as small as a red ink pen. You don’t know consciously (always, sometimes you might) but you see red and feel danger. In these cases, if it is unconscious, there is often nothing the psychotherapist can do. When it is conscious, the psychotherapist can work with it; especially through CPT.

My clients who complete CPT always say something in the beginning that tells me what they are going to have a breakthrough on. This is the amazing part. They are sharing their intentions, without realizing it. I can’t say anything because I must let the process unfold as it will. Once it does, I will remind them “Remember you had said this in the beginning?” and now you have this going on in your life. Generally, I see a shift about half way through. This means I have done my job correctly and efficiently but it can also mean that the person was dedicated to the process and willing to work through their pain. I feel such a deep connection during this process as I have helped someone delve within their soul and drag out the filth that has tormented them all these years. I have listened to their deepest darkest fears become something that is now an awareness of but not something that has a hold of them.

Once the client has been able to create this new awareness, they are now present to life in a new way. They are smiling more and less defensive with others. As a result of this, people around them feel more comfortable. Their partners are grateful to this process, their bosses might reward them not realizing why, their families see a new person but can’t explain it. I see someone who no longer needs me. This is mixed rewards because I am so incredibly happy for them but sad to say goodbye – in a good way. Closure always causes me to fight back the tears.

If you believe you have PTSD, we must, as CPT practitioners, confirm this ourselves. Sometimes people think they have this but actually have Anxiety or Depression is more the diagnosis than PTSD. I have expected people to have PTSD but realized, when I began to talk with them, that their symptoms were no longer as strong as they once were. PTSD symptoms can sometimes dissipate because the client has been working on themselves and had their own realizations about the trauma through other means. I listen for key phrases and ask very thorough questions. If in doubt, I give them a questionnaire that is used in the CPT process and this helps me to see exactly what are the strongest areas of concern. The test is one that we give weekly and we chart this over the course of the 12 weeks. It is evidence to the client, from their own admission, that the symptoms are decreasing.

If you live in Columbus, Ohio and would like to talk with me. You can visit my business website at jkvegh.com and send me a contact form or give me a call. Yes, I do work with the military and I am on your providers list (Military One Source is for non-medical and this constitutes as medical so you cannot use this resource for PTSD).  If you are not in this area or even in the state, you can go to CPTforPTSD.com to find a provider where you are. The people on this listing on those who have taken the training and have been supervised with a trainer for as long as it takes to complete two CPT treatments from beginning to end. This means they have generally worked with the supervisor for more than 24 weeks. If they have met this criteria, their supervisor will approve them for this list and you can be assured that all of us are conducting CPT in the same manner. This makes it consistent around the world.

You owe it to yourself to be all you can be. Holding on to the pain means you are allowing the perpetrator to have power over you and they are continuing to ruin your life. Find the right psychotherapist by researching their backgrounds and seeing which personality type matches with yours. Or, better yet, trust your instincts and follow where you are led! Your instincts will never fail you (but your ego will).

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