Cognitive Processing Therapy

This video sparked a few thoughts. First, be sure you watch the video before reading the rest of this post so you know what I’m talking about.

The video talks about PTSD, in the “understanding” phase of dealing with recent or past trauma. When survivors finally get out of an abusive relationship, many are left spiraling out of control, psychologically. We try to make sense of what had occurred, and as the video suggests, survivors can become “stuck” when they are unable to find a way to come to understand the event or events. Judge and juror exist in our minds during the “understanding” phase. It is difficult to be “ok” with something that will never make sense. It’ll never completely make sense. The idea is to find a way to be ok with “it” anyway.

Don’t get me wrong…abuse in any way, from any spectrum or angle, will absolutely NEVER be OK! But, for your sake, and your own well-being, you have GOT to find the ability to put the process on the shelf. In order to put it away, you have to be able to form a sort of understanding that will at least “sit”, if not sit well in our minds. The best phrase I found for myself, in order to get out of that ruminating phase, was, “It just is”. You can’t change it. You can’t possibly make sense of the mind of a disordered (or evil) individual. They say and do things that no NORMAL human being (I don’t place the psychopath in the realm of “human” at all) would ever consider. The fact that he or she pulled that psycho babble and psychologically raped YOU, will never sit well. Understanding the “whys” means that you are trying to place the entire event in the total realm of being human. The psychopath doesn’t follow societal rules, or even natural, humane ones. They create their own rules based on themselves and what they want at any given time. Period. You will not be able to make sense of it, completely. You don’t think like the psychopath or narc. You are entirely human. They are not. You were chosen. Why?

We can understand what draws the disordered to choose someone in a factual understanding, but to place that understanding in a personal light, takes a lot of mulling over scenarios in our heads. It hurts. It causes us to spin like a top, beating ourselves up along the way.

My own curse, is having the ability to be introspective and retrospective. I learned that “skill” early on in my life. It borders on analysis paralysis. The process of the therapy this video is talking about, resembles the process I have, naturally, always done. Perhaps my ability to do that was brought on by childhood abuse. The therapy helps those who DON’T have this ability, or enable someone who does, to find closure. It is very possible for the naturally analytical person to stay stuck, and cognitive processing therapy would be very helpful.

Judge and juror are at war in the mind of a survivor. The ability to view the event from the outside, allows one to understand cause and effect. It’s helpful, but when we still try to place the entire event under the guise of ‘human’, it cannot make sense.

In order to move on, we have to find a way out of the “understanding” phase. This is a process. To try to make sense of the events and your own role, is necessary and VERY NATURAL! It’s important to resume your life and revalidate your own role in your life. It’s important to have someone you trust, that you can talk to.

The beginning phases after ANY traumatic event, are hell. You’ll never hear me say otherwise. The trick is to move your feet, refuse to become stagnant. To “be” and to “do” won’t guarantee that you won’t continue to question and ruminate but it DOES guarantee to give you a break, and allows you to cultivate friendships. It allows you to validate yourself. You are important. You are wonderful, caring and sincere.

You will make it!


6 thoughts on “Cognitive Processing Therapy

  1. I remember one of the books I read I wasn’t overly impressed with the book overall. However, there was one like that hit me and stuck with me. Paraphrased: You have to reach the point where you can say, “Yeah, it happened. So what?” Not because you minimalized it, but because you worked through it, processed it, and put it in perspective so it no longer held center stage.

    1. There are a couple phrases i hated in the beginning. One was, “get over it”. The other one was, “it happened”. I couldn’t bring myself to consider giving any time to either thought. Everything was too fresh, raw, and unbearable to consider it. But the fact is, being able to come to the conclusion that, yes it happened and, no, we can’t change it, is what is needed to come to some peace regarding abuse or trauma. It happened. It is what it is. We can’t change it so the only thing left is to move past it. It takes time to come to that realization. We can’t force it, as it’ll come in it’s own time. Only in it’s own time.

      1. I think the important difference is between being told to “get over it” and “It happened” by someone else and deciding for ourselves.

        1. I believe so, too. Until we are at a place that we’ve mulled everything around, digested and questioned as much as we can, we won’t be able to understand or accept those lines of thinking. To hear it from another when we aren’t ready, feels like an attack. When we are ready to move on, then we can understand “it happened” a little easier. Its a process

  2. weareonebyruth

    The piece that helped me was when I realized it wasn’t about me. I didn’t ’cause’ this person to do what they did. The events were all about them, I was caught up in the storm but it wasn’t me. I agree with Judy that it is all about saying it yourself verses someone else telling you what you should feel or do.

    1. I think that helped me too. Its part of understanding. I needed to know exactly what i had faced, as well as my own roll, to better put it to rest in my mind. To tell someone “get over it” or “it JUST happened, move on” is like a dagger to the heart of the survivor who hasn’t processed anything or who is in the middle of it. It comes across as invalidating. It adds to the pile that we are already trying to work through. In time, the survivor will come to that conclusion when ready. For me, it took at least a year… it doesn’t appear to be something we can force or rush..

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