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Just Think About It: How Can Cognitive Therapy Contribute to the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?


Address correspondence to Julian D. Ford, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, MC1410, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington, CT 06030. E-mail:


[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 17: 128–133, 2010]

As documented by the review by Hassija and Gray (2010), reports of the death of cognitive therapy (CT) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are greatly exaggerated. CT has shown evidence of efficacy with adult PTSD comparable with that of prolonged exposure therapy (PE). The cognitive restructuring interventions provided by CT also are an integral component of evidence-based PTSD psychotherapies, such as PE for adults and trauma-focused cognitive-behavior therapy for children and adolescents. Moreover, CT offers a “present-centered” alternative to PTSD psychotherapy that can include, but does not require, trauma memory narrative disclosure. Inclusion of systematic approaches to not only changing thoughts but also enhancing thinking—i.e., self-regulatory information processing—represents an important next step in the development of models of CT for PTSD.