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Legacy Program Summary

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IMPORTANT LEGACY NOTICE: Legacy Programs have not been reviewed by the current National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The programs in this database were reviewed only under the previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system. This section is intended to be used for historical reference only. If you would like more information about a program listed here, please contact the program developer directly. The program developer of each Legacy Program listed here agreed to post program information on this site.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Brief Program Description

CPT is designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in rape victims. CPT is based on information processing theory of PTSD and consists of two integrated components: (1) cognitive therapy and (2) exposure in the form of writing and reading about the traumatic event. The therapy lasts 6 weeks, with 90-minute sessions held twice a week, and focuses initially on assimilated-distorted beliefs, such as denial and self-blame, and then shifts to focus on over-generalized beliefs about oneself and the world. Clients are taught to challenge their beliefs and assumptions through probing questions and the use of daily worksheets. Once dysfunctional beliefs are deconstructed, more balanced self-statements are generated and practiced. The exposure component consists of having clients write accounts of the most traumatic incident(s), which they read to themselves and to the therapists. Clients are encouraged to experience their emotions while writing and reading. The accounts are then used to determine areas of incomplete processing or conflict.

The CPT program is suitable for implementation in an outpatient mental health services clinic. Required resources include the CPT manual, and CPT therapists are required to attend a 2-day training workshop. The program has been tested primarily with adult female rape victims experiencing symptoms of PTSD in the St. Louis, MO, region. Compared with a group receiving prolonged exposure (PE) therapy and a wait-list control group, women receiving both CPT and PE improved significantly from pre- to post-treatment on both PTSD and depression measures, and maintained their improvement for 6 months. The comparison sample did not change from pre- to post-treatment. CPT and PE showed similar results, except that CPT produced better scores on two of the four subscales on the Trauma-Related Guilt Inventory (TRGI).

Contact Information

For indepth information on this program, please use the contact listed below.

Program Developer

Kathleen M. Chard, Ph.D.
Director, Trauma Recovery Center
Cincinnati VA Medical Center
CPT Implementation Director
Office of Mental Health Services
Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
University of Cincinnati
3200 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45220
Phone: (859) 572-6208
Email: Kathleen.Chard@va.gov

In October 2004, this program was designated as a Promising Program under SAMHSA's previous National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs system.