A reflection of PTSD and CBT: A choice to change

This week I attended a training conference at Queens University on PTSD. I am a firm believer in continually renewing my skills and keeping up to date with the newest methods, in order for my clients to receive the pinnacle of treatment they so deserve.

Although I am trained in Trauma focused therapy, I found the renewed training helpful and insightful to intertwine into practice.

For this months blog I wish to talk briefly about what PTSD, using jargon free terms and concluding with how CBT can help you.

What is PTSD?

PTSD occurs when a negative memory isn’t processed with other memories and as a result, it is living in your present, instead of your past.

 Using a metaphor to explain this further; if we think of our brains as a large filing cabinet and in this cabinet is a number of folders. These folder include, ‘learnt behaviors’ such as, when you learnt how to ride a bike, other folders are titled ‘emotive memories’ such as your 5th birthday party. However there is no folder titled ‘trauma’. As a result the ‘trauma’ piece of paper, that should be filed away, is jammed on top of the filing cabinet, not filed away, resulting in flashbacks, anxiety and depression.

How can CBT elevate PTSD?

1.    It explains the science of what happened in your brain

Trauma focused CBT is not patronizing, it’s scientific. By understanding how your brain reacts to extreme trauma and how it processes those memories, it gives you a better understanding as to what is going on internally. It also lays the foundations for treatment.

2.    Focused sessions

At Jessica Leigh CBT we are very conscious as to individual budgets and financial limitations. That is why unlike general therapy, we keep focused on your goals. Sessions are not a 45-minute unstructured conversation, but a structured period of learning. There is clear goals set, progress is monitored, and targets continuously renewed. This is to ensure that you are developing a skill set to move forward with the idea of using these skills independently once the sessions were concluded.  This empowers you, the client, to not feel dependent on the therapist and to move on  independently into the life you experienced prior to the trauma.


In conclusion, through the use of CBT in the treatment of PTSD, you can understand the key traumatic points that have caused your symptoms, this can lead to an understanding as to why these problems have occurred and a personalized, solution focused treatment plan can be implemented to aspire to the life we will discuss as your goal.  

For more information on PTSD, treatment or what CBT can do for you. Please do not hesitate to contact me through www.jessicaleighcbt.com