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Cognitive Restructuring for PTSD

Cognitive Restructuring (CR) For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a set of symptoms that many people experience after they have been involved in some sort of stressful event.

  • PTSD is so common that one out of every ten people develop it in their life

  • People who have a diagnosis of PTSD often experience flashbacks, intrusive memories or images, difficulty sleeping, and avoidance of things that remind them of the fearful situation.

  • Because PTSD can cause so much distress in a person’s life, it is important to get the right treatment. There is evidence-based treatment for PTSD here at Open Sky Community Services, and it is short-term, and non-exposure based.

What is the treatment for PTSD?

The treatment offered for PTSD at Open Sky Community Services is called “Cognitive Restructuring” or “CR.” It is a Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment model, meaning that we work on changing troublesome thoughts, beliefs and behaviors.

  • CR for PTSD is short-term. It is 12 to 16 individual therapy sessions.

  • This is a non-exposure-based treatment meaning that people are not asked to “re-live” or “re-experience” their traumatic past.

  • There are three parts of the treatment: breathing retraining, education, and cognitive restructuring.

  • These skills reduce symptoms of PTSD. They also reduce anxiety, distress, irritability, and high levels of body tension.

What is Cognitive Restructuring?

  • This is the focus of the treatment and takes the most time.

  • This is a skill that helps people learn how to pick out upsetting thoughts and beliefs about the world and their situations.

  • Once the person can identify these thoughts and beliefs, we teach how to find new ways of thinking that will help the person better cope with his/her unique situation. Not only will this help in relieving symptoms of PTSD, but it will also help with general anxiety, worry, and even depression.

Goals of CR for PTSD Treatment:

  • To have a greater understanding of what PTSD is and how it has impacted your life

  • To feel a greater sense of control over symptoms of PTSD

  • To experience a reduction in symptoms of PTSD

PTSD and Veterans:

  • As many as 20% of returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD symptoms.

  • PTSD can cause significant disruption in the lives of Veterans and their families

  • For many, seeking treatment is hard to do because of concerns they may have regarding perceptions of weakness and fears of being asked to “relive” their traumatic experiences in therapy

  • CR for PTSD offers advantages to address these concerns ---

  • It is short-term and definitive (12 to 16 weeks)

  • It has a very clear timeline and process that is appealing to those accustomed to structure and discipline

  • It does not ask the Veteran to relive his or her trauma, only to discuss what the impacts of the PTSD and traumatic experiences have had on his or her life

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