VA Education processing Center

Cognitive Processing Therapy

military man talking with another man while sitting at a tableAvailable in Spanish: Terapia de procesamiento cognitivo | Ver todos

Trauma often causes people to struggle with their memories and thoughts about the event. You may have a hard time making sense of what happened. You may find yourself getting "stuck" in your thoughts about the trauma and how it affects your life. This feeling of being unable to make sense of the trauma can make you want to avoid thinking about or dealing with your memories.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) helps you by giving you a new way to handle these distressing thoughts and to gain an understanding of these events. By using the skills learned in this therapy, you can learn why recovery from traumatic events has been hard for you. CPT helps you learn how going through a trauma changed the way you look at the world, yourself, and others. The way we think and look at things directly affects how we feel and act.

The four main parts of CPT

Learning About Your PTSD Symptoms. CPT begins with education about your specific PTSD symptoms and how the treatment can help. The therapy plan will be reviewed and the reasons for each part of the therapy will be explained. You will be able to ask questions and to know exactly what you are going to be doing in this therapy. You will also learn why these skills may help.

Becoming Aware of Thoughts and Feelings. Next, CPT focuses on helping you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. When bad things happen, we want to make sense of why they happened. An example would be a Veteran who thinks to himself or herself, "I should have known that this would happen." Sometimes we get stuck on these thoughts. In CPT you will learn how to pay attention to your thoughts about the trauma and how they make you feel. You'll then be asked to step back and think about how your trauma is affecting you now. This will help you think about your trauma in a different way than you did before. It can be done either by writing or by talking to your therapist about it.

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What role does Parkland play in processing VA educational benefits?

The Office of Financial Aid acts as a liaison between you (the student) and the VA. One of our staff members, designated as the "certifying official,” acts as the eyes and ears for the VA by submitting enrollment verification to the VA in a timely manner. The Financial Aid Office is not equipped or trained to assist you with other types of VA questions, such as VA home loan information, death benefits, etc. There is a local VA office, located on University Avenue in Champaign, which can assist you with other VA-related benefit questions.

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