Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Cognitive Therapy

Table of Contents


Psychological therapies have been used to offer assistant to psychological patient. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder that is associated with traumatic experience. The paper looks into the therapies that can be used with this disorder.

Cognitive and Behavioural therapies are identified as appropriate for PTSD. The paper gives the applicability of each therapy. Cognitive and behavioural techniques can be together to help PTSD patients to change their mentality on their trauma and learn to cope with their fears.


There had been increased interest on psychological health in the recent past. Researches on this area have led to various explanations to the psychological problems. Various therapies have also been proposed to various psychological challenges.

Popular psychological therapies include cognitive, behavioural, drug, humanistic and psychoanalysis therapies. All the therapies are effective under different circumstances. In treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), cognitive and behavioural therapies have been found to be more effective.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder that is associated with traumatic experience. People experience traumatic moment in day to day life. Such traumatic experience may include being involved in an accident, witnessing an accident, war and other frightening experience (Myers128).

In most cases most people overcome their trauma without difficulty but others don’t. PTSD is associated with extremely traumatic experience such as experience in wars, sexual abuse, childhood abuse or serious accidents. PTSD individuals find it difficult to overcome their trauma.

The individuals keep on re-experiencing their trauma in form of nightmares and may have difficulty to cope with normal life. Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the experience, nightmares, memory problems, difficulty in concentration, anger, hopelessness and difficulty in establishing relationship. The victims also have great fear activities that had caused the trauma.

Individuals’ health is affected by biological social and psychological factors. When and individual experience a trauma, the psychological aspects are affected. The trauma affects the way the individual view their daily lives. Fear for recurrence of the traumatic experience may affect how an individual interact with their environment. For example, sexual abuse may affect how and individual experience their relationship and affect their lives.

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive and behavioural therapies can be helpful to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when an individual is not to forget or overcome their traumatic experience. Their experience distort how they experience or view normal life situations. An individual suffering from PTSD out of an accident may find it difficult to drive in the future or have extreme fear of riding in a car (Buckley and Forneris 78).

In a similar way a victim of sexual abuse can have difficulty in future relationship because of past experience. Cognitive therapy can be used the way of thinking of a trauma and help to control negative emotions. On the other had behavioural therapy can be used to help PTSD patient to learn ways to overcome their past experiences.

Post-Trauma Stress Disorder results from conflict between pre and post-trauma beliefs about the world and self. PTSD individuals are not able to overcome their past experience mainly of failure to anticipate the occurrence of the trauma. Occurrence of trauma affects the way in which the trauma victims view their world. Inability to accept their situation affects their day to day live and may even lead to depression.

Cognitive therapy techniques are based on the cognitive model of psychological disorder. This model emphasizes the effect of personal evaluation to behavioural and emotional reaction. Cognitive therapy techniques are based on belief that individuals can change their understanding or attitude towards the world (Grawe126).

Past experience such a traumatic event can lead to an individual acquiring distorted understanding of the world. A PTSD may always anticipate reoccurrence of the traumatic events may not be able to cope with. Cognitive therapy can be used to help the victims to change how they view their world through cognitive methods.

Cognitive techniques help the Post-Trauma Stress Disorder victims to overcome their dysfunctional schemata resulting from their past experience. This therapy is collaborative where the therapist does not persuade or direct a patient change their attitude.

Instead the therapist works with the patient to identify the best approach and help him or her to overcome past experience. For example, the patient can be asked to narrate or write their experience in order to help them to overcome their trauma.

Behavioural Therapy

Behavioural therapy can also be used with PTSD patients. Behavioural therapy is based on learning theory of psychology. The method is aimed at helping the PTSD patient to learn how to overcome their fears. Traumatic experience leads the victims to be over-sensitive over the experience that had caused the trauma. One of the major aims of behavioural therapy is to desensitize the patient (Grawe 206).

Some of the desensitisation involves exposing the victims to their source of fear. For a PTSD patient who had experienced a traumatizing accident, behavioural therapy may include helping the victim drive again. In the therapy, the patients are taught how to replace anxiety and fear with relaxation. Cognitive and behavioural techniques can be together to help PTSD patients to change their mentality on their trauma and learn to cope with their fears.

Works Cited

Buckley, T. & Forneris, C. (1999). Psychometric properties of the PTSD. Behavioural Research and Therapy, 34.8.

Grawe, K. Psychological therapy. New York: Hogrefe & Huber, 2004. Print.

Myers, D. Psychology, Eighth Edition. New York: Worth Publishers, 2009. Print.

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