PTSD: National Center for PTSD
“It's very important to unlock what caused the PTSD.”
U.S. Army, 1994-2012
Available en Español
Trauma-focused psychotherapy is the most effective type of talk therapy for PTSD. There are different kinds of trauma-focused psychotherapy, but the three treatments listed below have the most research support.
In each of these therapies, you'll meet with a therapist once a week for 60 to 90 minutes. Your therapist will teach you specific skills to help you manage your PTSD symptoms.
Most of these therapies below usually lasts for 3 to 4 months. Then, if you still have symptoms, you and your therapist can talk about ways to manage them.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD
CPT teaches you how change the upsetting thoughts and feelings you have had since your trauma.
- Prolonged Exposure for PTSD
PE teaches you to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations that you have been avoiding since your trauma.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD
EMDR helps you process and make sense of your trauma while paying attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, a light, or a tone).
- Written Exposure Therapy
WET helps you find new ways to think about your trauma and its meaning through writing assignments you complete during sessions. This is a brief, 5-session therapy.
Trying to Figure Out which PTSD Treatment Is Best for You?
Learn about effective treatment options with PTSD Treatment Decision Aid. You can read about different treatments, hear advice from people who have been through these treatments, and watch videos of providers explaining how the treatments work. You can also build a chart to compare the treatments you like the most and print a personalized summary that lists your symptoms, treatment preferences, and questions to share with your provider.