Effects of Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) on Post traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD)

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a scientifically validated treatment strategy for various mental problems caused by traumatic situations. It is a therapy that assists a patient in understanding and changing their mental approach to the way they think about their trauma and its aftermath. The goal is to help the patient comprehend how positive thoughts about their experience cause stress and intensify their symptoms.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a devastating mental disease that can emerge in certain people after experiencing or witnessing any type of tragedy or heartbreaking event. These events could also include; terrorist incident, the sudden death of a beloved, civil war, or even encountered personal assault for instance rape, or molestation. This condition is prevalent among the military personnel due to the war impacts like physical brain injury, amputations caused by blasts during combat.

Positive Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for PTSD

Several scientists have discovered new ways of fighting PTSD and Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT is one of them. Its effects on the management of the named condition have been positive due to the various efforts it deploys in its course. According to the scholarly article by Bryant named; Treatment of acute stress disorder: A comparison of cognitive-behavioural therapy and supportive counselling. He enumerates some positive effects of the above treatment, and his principle point is its ability to make the patients come to terms with their condition and to accept the facts as they are. Most PTSD patients exacerbate their conditions by living in a state of denial, refusing to accept the terrible events that happened in their lives. This state of denial that ontologically conflicts with the reality catalyzes the feelings of anger and mental bewilderment, which are some of the two principle factors that fuel PTSD as a disorder. Bryant explains that it is never the responsibility of a therapist to make the patient feel good about themselves, but on the contrary, it is their responsibility to aid them to change if not understand their mental approach to the way they perceive the trauma that happened to them. He seems to emphasize on the scientific therapy principle; that one can never understand the depths of a patient's trauma and all they can do to help is assist them to change their perception towards it, that way the negative thoughts that cause stress are mitigated.

Dealing with Guilt in PTSD

Another significant point that Bryant focuses on is; dealing with the guilt concomitant with PTSD. Researchers indicate that most patients with this disorder are entangled in feelings of self-pity or self-hatred mainly because they feel it was partially their fault that those traumatizing events happened to them or others. For instance, a soldier would feel guilty of the decisions he made during a war that caused either the deaths of many innocents or caused him to lose his foot. Bryant just like other researchers such as Ehlers agree that guilt is one of the leading causes of consequent suicide in patients with PTSD, and the introduction of CBT has the positive impact of rechanneling this guilt or ultimately diminishing it. In a CBT session, a patient is made to understand that they had no capacity to have acted towards self-destruction or the mass murder of others had it either; not been the only way out of a difficult self-life threatening situation or the direct command from his or her superiors (Ehlers, 2005). That way as Bryant explains is one of the positive ways of defusing the forces of guilt and reducing on the suicide demographics.

The Power of the Mind in Managing PTSD

Bryant just like several other researchers underscores the power of the mind as the only logical agent towards managing PTSD. He correctly insists that the mind has the power to heal itself or destruct itself. To reach this conclusion, he put several patients in a case study to demonstrate the power of the mind in the overall wellbeing of the patients. He took six PTSD patients and divided them into two groups of each three patients. One group was subjected to the CBT therapy that deployed the cognitive module of making the patients learn to identify the very thoughts about their situations or themselves that were making them feel anxious, afraid or upset. The therapists helped them learn the various ways to replace those thoughts with positive and less distressing thoughts. They also taught them about the means to cope with negative feelings such as dread, anger, guilt, and fear. All the while the other group was left to mingle freely without the presence of any CBT therapist.

The Impact of CBT on Mental States of PTSD Patients

After six weeks of monitored exposure, the patients in the first group that had therapist recorded elevated feelings of enthusiasm and well-being while the patients in the second group that had no therapist registered decreased levels of enthusiasm and high levels of anger, ranting and disillusionment. From those statistics, Bryant was able to conclude that the fine tuning of the mind is an excellent tool for the management of PTSD. As illustrated by definition this disorder is mainly a debilitated state of mind, and the fine tuning of it by proper desensitization is a substantial way to improving the mental states of PTSD patients. Thus yet again CBT proved according to Bryant to possess positive effects on patients since a disoriented mind could predispose a patient to suicide or other bodily harming actions.

CBT and Religious/Faith Conflicts

However, CBT has not always made success in all its interventions, as demonstrated; it relies solely on the redirection of the mind to more positive aspects of life or to coming to terms with the events of one's traumatic past. But this therapy intervention that seeks to do so has been in the past met with harsh criticism from some religious sects and factions. Some religious beliefs attribute the occurrence of certain traumatic events in people's lives as some punishment for some offense or sin executed by the patient, therefore stating that there would be no need for CBT since the disorder is deity ordered. This introduces the scientific/faith conflict that faces many therapists. Bryant just like other researchers has viewed this as a dilemma that faces many patients (as of whether to seek scientific intervention, join a religious sect) as one that can only be dealt with at a patient's personal level. So towards this, he proposes a compromise of the two, such to say; in as much as one is to believe or not to, let them try precise scientific ways. That approach has always made some religious patients feel some sense of religion loyalty and a new intervention but yet still remained a dilemma to many.


Finally having reviewed this article by Bryant, we can't fail to notice his insistence on the cognitive attuning of the mind. Most mental disorders are mainly based on separate states of the mind that precipitate mental disorders to evolve and CBT as he has illustrated as made tremendous effects on PTSD patients. However, it would be my submission that other than the deployment of CBT as a management therapy of PTSD patients after it has already occurred. It can be introduced in many school learning curriculums as a subject, where students from an early age are taught the various ways to deal with their public or personal traumas. That way the eventual demographics on PTSD would be reduced, since it would teach the traumatized minds to avoid habits, thoughts, and patterns that induce this and many other mental disorders.


Bryant, R. A., Harvey, A. G., Dang, S. T., Sackville, T., & Basten, C. (1998). Treatment of acute stress disorder: A comparison of cognitive-behavioral therapy and supportive counseling. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 66(5), 862.

Ehlers, A., Clark, D. M., Hackmann, A., McManus, F., & Fennell, M. (2005). Cognitive therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder: development and evaluation. Behaviour research and therapy, 43(4), 413-431.

April 26, 2023

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