Psychotherapy treatment for PTSD is typically a short-term process, lasting from 6 to 12 weeks. However, the duration of treatment may vary depending on the individual's needs and the type of therapy administered. Cognitive-behavioral treatments, which focus on a specific problem, are usually shorter than psychotherapies with a broader focus. In addition, preparatory work before beginning to address the trauma itself may take from a few weeks to 3-4 months.
Support from family and friends can be an important part of recovery. There are many types of psychotherapy that can help people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some types directly attack PTSD symptoms, while others such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) help to control the symptoms. When deciding when to start working specifically on trauma, it is important to have the skills necessary to work on trauma, to thoroughly understand PTSD, and to feel safe from trauma therapy.
The cognitive processing therapy program usually lasts 12 weeks, so the CPT plus preparatory work will probably take 3.5 to 7 months. If PTSD symptoms last a month or longer, trauma therapy may be helpful. Trauma therapy asks you to experience some of the thoughts and feelings associated with trauma in a more controlled situation where you can process those feelings with the help of an experienced therapist. Research studies conducted by the EMDR Institute found that only 1 in 10 trauma survivors needed more than 3 sessions to re-process the negative symptoms of PTSD.It is essential that trauma therapy be carried out in a safe and comfortable environment with an experienced, well-trained therapist.
There needs to be some trust between the patient and the therapist to get the preferred outcome.