Problem Area: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

2015 EST Status: Treatment pending re-evaluation Very strong: High-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms and functional outcomes at post-treatment and follow-up; little risk of harm; requires reasonable amount of resources; effective in non-research settings

Strong: Moderate- to high-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms OR functional outcomes; not a high risk of harm; reasonable use of resources

Weak: Low or very low-quality evidence that treatment produces clinically meaningful effects on symptoms or functional outcomes; Gains from the treatment may not warrant resources involved

Insufficient Evidence: No meta-analytic study could be identified

Insufficient Evidence: Existing meta-analyses are not of sufficient quality

Treatment pending re-evaluation

1998 EST Status: Strong Research Support Strong: Support from two well-designed studies conducted by independent investigators.

Modest: Support from one well-designed study or several adequately designed studies.

Controversial: Conflicting results, or claims regarding mechanisms are unsupported.

Strength of Research Support

Empirical Review Status
2015 Criteria
(Tolin et al. Recommendation)
Very Strong
Insufficient Evidence
Treatment pending re-evaluation
1998 Criteria
(Chambless et al. EST)

Find a Therapist specializing in Cognitive Processing Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. List your practice

Brief Summary

  • Basic premise: changing the content of cognitions about a trauma can impact emotional and behavioral responses to the trauma
  • Essence of therapy: Cognitive Processing Therapy, or CPT, is a cognitive therapy that focuses initially on the question of why the trauma occurred and then the effects of the trauma on the clients’ beliefs about themselves, others, and the world through the use of progressive worksheets.
  • Length: approx. 12 sessions

Treatment Resources

Editors: Denise Sloan, PhD; Alexandra Greenfield, MS

Note: The resources provided below are intended to supplement not replace foundational training in mental health treatment and evidence-based practice

Treatment Manuals / Outlines

Treatment Manuals
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy Veteran/Military Version: Therapist’s Manual (Resick, Monson, & Chard, 2014)
    • also available in Spanish, French, Chinese, and Kurdish
    • patient materials also available in French
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy Veteran/Military Version: Therapist’s Group Manual (Chard, Resick, Monson, & Kattar, 2013)
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy Veteran/Military Version: Therapist and Patient Materials Manual (Resick, Monson, & Chard, 2014)

Training Materials and Workshops

Measures, Handouts and Worksheets

  • PTSD Symptom Scale – Interview for DSM-5 (PSS-I-5); Manual for Child Posttraumatic Stress Scale – Interview for DSM-5 (CPSS-I-5)
  • PTSD Symptom Scale – Self-Report for DSM-5 (PSS-SR-5)
  • Child Posttraumatic Stress Scale – Interview for DSM-5 (CPSS-I-5); Manual for CPSS-I-5
  • Child Posttraumatic Stress Scale – Self-Report for DSM-5 (CPSS-SR-5); Scoring Key for CPSS-SR-5
  • Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory (PTCI); Subscales for PTCI; Scoring key for PTCI
  • PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)
  • ABC Worksheet
  • Challenging Beliefs Worksheet

Smartphone Apps

Video Descriptions

Video Repository
  • Candace Monson and Kevin Beasley describe CPT (Veterans Health Administration, 2004)

Embedded video for members only

  • Informational video for clients available through the National Center for PTSD’s website on CPT

Clinical Trials

Other Treatment Resources

  • About Face (a website available through the VA’s National Center for PTSD)