VA Programs & Services
Evidence-based psychotherapy is the most-highly recommended treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is one of many effective treatments for PTSD. Each VA medical center offers one or more specific evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD. Many medical centers and clinics provide other treatments and additional psychotherapy services for posttraumatic stress (in addition to those below).
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a structured, psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD. It involves teaching individuals to identify how traumatic experiences have impacted their thinking. It also teaches individuals to evaluate and change their thoughts. CPT usually takes 12 sessions and can be delivered in individual or group format. The goal in CPT is that clients learn to have more healthy and balanced beliefs about themselves, others and the world.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)
Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy is an individual treatment for PTSD and related problems. PE typically lasts for 10-15 sessions and has been shown to work for a number of individuals with varying traumas. During treatment, clients will learn about PTSD: its causes, symptoms, and the reasons you are continuing to have symptoms. In later sessions, clients start facing safe situations that they have stayed away from because they trigger memories of a trauma. These steps will begin a process of recovery and improving the quality of your life.
- VA PTSD Program Locator: The program locator will help you find local VA PTSD programs.
- National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD): This website contains in-depth information on PTSD and traumatic stress. You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about PTSD; Fact Sheets on Common Reactions; information about the Effects of Trauma on Family and Friends; and much more.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy: The VA provides at least one of two evidence based treatments for PTSD at all VA Medical Centers and to its network of Community Based Outpatient Clinics via clinical video technology. These effective therapies are Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy.
- Vet Centers: Vet Centers are located in your community and stand ready to help you and your family with readjustment counseling and outreach services. Services include individual and group counseling, marital and family counseling, medical and benefits referrals, and employment counseling.
- MyHealtheVet – PTSD: This site provides basic information on diagnosis, symptoms and treatment.
- MakeTheConnection.net: Visit this site to view hundreds of stories from Veterans of all service eras who have overcome mental health challenges. MakeTheConnection.net is a one-stop resource where Veterans and their families and friends can privately explore information on mental health issues, hear fellow Veterans and their families share their stories of resilience, and easily find and access the support and resources they need.
- Watch video testimonials from Veterans who have overcome PTSD, and to learn more about PTSD, its symptoms, and treatment.