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Dra. Julia König

Julia König  Controversies Psiquiatria Barcelona
Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Alemanya
Ponència Mecanismes cognitius dels trastorns relacionats amb el trauma
Data Dijous, 25 d'abril, 2024
Hora 16:15 - 17:00
Taula rodona 1 Mecanismes del trauma


Julia König studied psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU), Munich, from 1999-2005. After that, she pursued clinical training as a psychotherapist and got her psychotherapy license as a cognitive behavioral therapist in 2010. In 2012, she finished her doctorate in psychology at LMU, where she continued to work at the Department of Clinical Psychology. In 2013 she left LMU for the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, where she is currently employed as an associate professor, teaching mostly in the psychology master’s program. Her research and clinical interests are psychotherapy for PTSD, most importantly Cognitive Processing Therapy, and more recently PTSD after childbirth and tokophobia. She is a member of the German-speaking Society for Psychotraumatology (DeGPT) and offers workshops on Cognitive Processing Therapy and PTSD treatment for psychotherapists and psychotherapists in training.


Thinking about and making sense of one's experiences are integral parts of being human. This is also true when coming to terms with trauma. This talk will focus on the importance of cognition in PTSD – both as part of the diagnostic criteria and in therapy. The DSM-5, with the introduction of criterion D, "Negative alterations in cognitions and mood", acknowledged that dysfunctional cognitions are not only correlates of PTSD symptoms, but are a part of the disorder.

I will introduce two influential cognitive models of PTSD. The cognitive model proposed by Ehlers & Clark, 2000, focuses on how negative cognitions about the trauma and its sequelae lead to a sense of current threat in PTSD patients. The social cognitive model used by Resick, Monson, and Chard, 2017 focuses not only on the content of dysfunctional cognitions, but also on their underlying mechanisms. While the adaptive response to a (schema-discrepant) traumatic event would be to change one’s beliefs and thoughts enough to be able to integrate the experience (accommodation), many PTSD patients either try to mentally change the event to fit with their previous beliefs and assumptions (assimilation) or change their cognitions too much in a negative way (over-accommodation). Assimilation, which can go so far that important parts of the event are forgotten, often leads to self-blame or mental undoing, while over-accommodation leads to extremely negative beliefs. Both types of beliefs (which frequently co-occur) lead to suffering and keep patients from recovering. Assimilation is targeted first in therapy.

The talk will include a brief overview of the efficacy of trauma-focused cognitive therapies for PTSD, and a somewhat more in-depth discussion of the empirical support for the hypothesized working mechanisms of these therapies.


  • Ehlers, A. & Clark, D. M. (2000). "A cognitive model of posttraumatic stress disorder". Behaviour Research and Therapy 38 (4), 319345.
  • Resick, P. A., Monson, C. M., & Chard, K. M. (2017). "Cognitive processing therapy for PTSD: A comprehensive manual". The Guilford Press.
  • König, J (2014). "Thoughts and Trauma – Theory and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder from a CognitiveBehavioral Therapy Perspective." intervalla: platform for intellectual exchange 2, “Trauma, Abstraction, and Creativity" (2014-15): 13-19.
  • König, J, et al (2021). "Young people's trauma-related cognitions before and after cognitive processing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder". Psychol Psychother. 2021 Mar;94(1):33-44. doi: 10.1111/papt.12263. Epub 2019 Dec 12. PMID: 31833224.
  • König, J, et al (2020). "What was helpful in today's session? Responses of clients in two different psychotherapies for posttraumatic stress disorder". Psychotherapy (Chic). 2020 Sep;57(3):437-443. doi: 10.1037/pst0000295. Epub 2020 Jun 18. PMID: 32551724.