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A wide swathe of psychological disorders are treated by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The particular CBT methods employed in treating PTSD depends on individual cases. The general approach  involves altering of irrational thoughts. Efforts are made to banish any negative emotions linked to traumatic experience.

Variations of CBT are found to be effective in PTSD treatment.

  • Exposure Therapy: It involves the patient subjected to repeated exposure of stimuli which causes stress to that specific person
  • Stress Inoculation Training (SIT): The patient is provided knowledge about the anxiety systems and also the coping mechanisms.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): The patient discusses his or her trauma while the person tracks movement of quickly moving fingers with eyes.
  • Cognitive Therapy: The patient is taught to identify any trauma centric dysfunctional or irrational beliefs which could influence emotional response and decision making
  • Combination: The patient could be subjected to a number of the above methods at the same time.

CBT provides the benefit of reduction of PTSD severity. The technique also positively affects other psychological states linked with this disorder like depression and general anxiety. Benefits of such a treatment are usually retained. Relapse rates are low and other kinds of treatment are not usually applied. Treatments imported into CBT include deep breathing exercises and general supportive counseling.

Psychologist and happy couple

Cognitive Therapy, SIT and Exposure Therapy are the commonest CBT treatments applied to PTSD patients. Research has shown that these methods are extremely efficient and brings about a positive outcome. Even as clinical studies have underscored EMDR’s efficacy, the treatment’s unconventional style continues to generate questions concerning the technique.

The treatment found to be best effective is Prolonged Exposure (PE). This treatment generally involves nine to 12 weekly sessions. Each session last anywhere between 90 and 120 minutes. The aim of this treatment is to discuss the fears, recall traumatic event and relaxation training. It also includes confronting the safe situations which involve the memories concerned with trauma.

Psychosocial treatments

A short psychological debriefing is directly done after a traumatic incident and this procedure is a common preventative measure for chronic PTSD development. Debriefings help to openly discuss  the events sequence and also the impressions, emotions and thoughts linked with the incident. These help to develop the coping mechanism to tackle future stresses. CBT for the short term is also found to prevent the chronic symptoms. Patients undergoing four to five CBT sessions two to four weeks post episode enjoy considerable post-traumatic stress reduction. You can get a more clear idea about CBT from the Centre for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Ontario, Canada.