Cognitive processing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in a University Counselling Center: An outcome study

Charity Wilkinson, Meghan Von Linden, Annmarie Wacha-Montes, Craig Bryan, Katherine O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


More than half of college students endorse experiencing at least one traumatic event. Consistent with other populations, the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for college students has been reported at around 12%. Despite this, empirically supported treatments for PTSD have not been widely disseminated in University Counselling Centers (UCCs). This study examines outcomes using cognitive processing therapy (CPT) with a sample of n = 26 college students in a UCC setting. This study also examines therapist experience, length of degree and symptom severity on outcome. After completing training, n = 8 therapists completed CPT consultation and certification. Students who participated in individual CPT during this process were administered the PCL-5 and PHQ-9 at weekly sessions. A retrospective chart review was completed. PCL-5 and PHQ-9 scores were separately examined as outcome variables using linear mixed models where session, therapist experience, length of therapist degree, and severity of symptoms were included as fixed effects, and subjects were assumed to have a random effect. Significant reductions in PCL-5 and PHQ-9 scores were observed across treatment. In this sample, 84.6% of students were treatment responders. Results were unchanged when adjusting for therapist level of experience or training. CPT shows strong potential for UCC settings. CPT can be successfully implemented with novice therapists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17000216
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapist
StatePublished - 2017


  • CPT
  • PTSD
  • UCC
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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