Only you and your therapist can decide which therapy or combination of therapy and medication is right for you. The 2 therapies on this page have been proven to help people with PTSD.

Sherrie Warner

Prolonged Exposure (PE)

PE - Veteran Frederick Gantt
Veteran Frederick Gantt

In PE, you work with your therapist to identify the thoughts, feelings, and situations that make you anxious or afraid. Then you confront those thoughts, feelings, and situations over and over again — by talking about them, and by going out into the real world to experience them. It sounds scary, but facing things you’re afraid of in a safe way can help you learn that you don’t need to avoid reminders of the trauma.

PE has 4 parts:

1 Learning about your symptoms and how therapy can help.
2 Practicing breathing exercises to help you relax and manage stress.
3 Visiting places and situations that you avoid, so you can see they are safe, and learn to feel safe in them.
4 Talking about the trauma over and over, to help you get more control of your thoughts and feelings.

Learn about Veteran Frederick Gantt's experience with PE

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

CPT - Veteran Christopher Tyler
Veteran Christopher Tyler

After a trauma, it’s common to get "stuck" on negative thoughts — like thinking what happened is your fault or that the world is very dangerous. CPT helps you move forward by teaching you how to make sense of your thoughts about the trauma. Changing how you think can change how you feel.

CPT has 4 parts:

1 Learning about your symptoms and how therapy can help.
2 Talking through your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. Some therapists may also ask you to write about the trauma.
3 Learning how to challenge your thoughts so you can think about your trauma in a way that’s less upsetting.
4 Understanding how trauma can change your beliefs about yourself and the world.

Learn about Veteran Christopher Tyler's experience with CPT

To learn more about different PTSD treatments, and answer questions to see which treatment might be a good fit for you, check out this PTSD Treatment Decision Aid.