How Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Help?

There are three steps in cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD. First, your therapist will teach you ways to cope with the feelings and tension that come with the memories. These include ways to relax your body and to take your mind off the pain.

Second, your therapist will help you face the memories. He or she will guide you in retelling the story of what happened. The more you do this, the less upsetting the memories will become, and the more you will be able to find a sense of peace.

Finally, your therapist will teach you ways to change negative thinking and handle problems in your life. A number of studies have found that cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people with PTSD feel better. These studies have included combat veterans as well as victims of rape, assault, and other traumas.