Exploring CPT Sessions: Self-Challenge Techniques

D.I.V.E. Therapy & Consulting, LLC

Key Points

  1. Sessions 6 and 7 focus on integrating self-challenge techniques, emphasizing the use of the Challenging Beliefs Worksheet to identify and contest problematic beliefs.
  2. Session 7 delves into specific trauma-related themes, particularly how trauma influences safety perceptions, requiring continuous monitoring of the client’s engagement and response.
  3. It is critical to maintain consistent engagement in CPT, avoiding deviations from the protocol, with weekly or bi-weekly sessions being ideal to ensure effective treatment outcomes.
Earn 1.25 CE Credits

During sessions 6 and 7, patients learn to self-challenge, integrating various skills they’ve been developing. This phase includes a check-in on their progress with the “Patterns in Problematic Thinking” worksheet. Subsequently, the “Challenging Beliefs Worksheet” (CBW) is introduced. The importance of completing homework assignments is emphasized, as they act as building blocks for the CBW. This worksheet combines previous exercises, focusing on:

  1. Identifying the Activating event, Belief, and Consequence (ABC).
  2. Recognizing patterns of problematic thinking.
  3. Using challenging questions to contest these beliefs.
  4. Re-evaluating the belief’s credibility and forming alternative, fact-based statements.

Each session includes practice assignments with trauma-related examples, ensuring patients have a reference point for future exercises.

Specific Trauma-Related Themes in Session 7

Exploring the Safety Theme

Session 7 advances to specific trauma-related themes, particularly how trauma influences perceptions of safety. The session’s goals are:

  1. Understanding the impact of trauma on safety beliefs.
  2. Addressing and reformulating unhelpful safety-related beliefs.

Continuous monitoring of the client’s reaction to these exercises is crucial. Clinicians assess the patient’s engagement and address any barriers to treatment adherence, including cultural responsiveness and access to care.

Recommendations and Caveats

Maintaining Protocol Integrity

Clinicians should avoid deviating from the CPT protocol with unscheduled supportive therapy sessions. It’s essential to work with patients who can commit to the treatment’s duration. Key points include:

  1. The importance of consistent treatment, ideally on a weekly basis, or at least bi-weekly.
  2. Recognizing that infrequent sessions can double the treatment duration.
  3. Ensuring regular practice of skills to maintain the treatment’s effectiveness.

A metaphor comparing the treatment to medication dosage is used to emphasize the need of consistent and appropriate engagement in CPT.

Looking for practical everyday tools? This print-friendly handout is just what you need. Click on the following link to download the PDF:

CPT Mastery: Guiding Patients through Self-Challenge in Sessions 6 and 7

This handout is a summarized overview of sessions 6 and 7 of cognitive processing therapy (CPT), focusing on the self-challenge phase. It mentions the importance of reviewing and integrating previously learned skills through specific worksheets, notably the “Patterns in Problematic Thinking” and the “Challenging Beliefs Worksheet” (CBW). The handout emphasizes the importance of homework assignments as foundational elements that prepare patients for effectively using the CBW, which is central to these sessions. Additionally, it points out the need to focus on safety beliefs in session 7. The handout aims to provide therapists with a tool to remind them of important aspects of these critical phases of CPT while maintaining adherence to the therapy’s structured protocol.


This handout provides therapists with a summarized overview of sessions 6 and 7 of cognitive processing therapy (CPT), focusing on self-challenge techniques and introducing specific worksheets. Therapists should begin by reviewing the “Patterns in Problematic Thinking” worksheet with patients, ensuring comprehension and application of previous skills. Following this, introduce the “Challenging Beliefs Worksheet” (CBW), which consolidates skills in identifying and challenging unhelpful beliefs. Emphasize the significance of homework completion, as it prepares patients for effective use of the CBW. In session 7, shift the focus to exploring specific trauma-related themes, particularly around safety, and guide patients through understanding and reformulating safety beliefs. Monitor patient engagement throughout, addressing any barriers to adherence. Maintain protocol integrity, ensure consistent treatment frequency, and stress the importance of regular skill practice for the success of CPT.

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Exploring CPT Sessions: Self-Challenge Techniques