Trauma-Focused CBT

What is PTSD and how can Trauma Focused CBT help?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after someone has experienced or witnessed an overwhelming and frightening event or events during which they felt out of control.

This could be a single event such as a car crash or assault, or a series of events; for example abuse experienced as a child or adult.  It can also affect people working in professions who witness trauma (police, ambulance workers, fire fighters and the military).

Some of the symptoms of PTSD are normal reactions to trauma, however, if they do not resolve themselves after a month or so, it may be that the PTSD symptoms become a problem.

Symptoms include:

  • intrusions: these include flashbacks (as if the event is happening again) images, thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and nightmares
  • hyper-vigilence: being on-guard, scanning your environment
  • avoidance: of thinking/talking about the event, of reminders of the event such as the place where it occurred
  • anxiety, stress.


Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is recommended by the NICE guidelines for the treatment of PTSD.

Research shows reliving most effective technique to reduce
re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD.

What happens in CBT for post traumatic stress disorder?

Trauma-focused CBT follows the same principles as CBT for other difficulties. However, there is a distinct treatment protocol that has been developed with the aid of research that has been found to be very effective for the relief of PTSD symptoms.  The therapy will typically include:

  • psycho-education – I will help you understand what is happening and why you are experiencing the symptoms, how what is happening to you is not a sign that you are going ‘mad’ but a normal response to trauma that has got ‘stuck’
  • reliving – understandably you may wish to avoid talking or thinking about the trauma as it causes distress, however, paradoxically this is not helpful.  During the therapy, we will spend time going through the trauma event in a safe environment, this helps the brain process the memories and is shown by research to be the most effective method for reducing flashbacks
  • various techniques to help regulate symptoms and/or remind you that you are in the ‘here and now.’


Sessions will generally be 50 minutes, though it is likely some will there will need to be longer, lasting 90 minutes.  I would expect us to meet between 10 and 20 times, depending on your needs.

You will be required to carry out homework tasks that will help us to gain more understanding of your difficulty, and you to gain the knowledge and feel empowered to better manage your PTSD.


Where to find me and fees

Meeting, terms and contact

a UKCP registered Integrative Psychotherapist who practices in North and Central London
© 2021 Anne Fullam Ltd.