About C-PTSD

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can look, in many ways, similar to PTSD but with some additional symptoms. Like PTSD, it can come from a person experiencing events that would be considered distressing or horrifying, but these generally occur within childhood, are impossible to difficult to escape from or are ongoing situations.

What can cause C-PTSD?

The types of situations that a person may not have been easily able to avoid or escape from, that can result in C-PTSD are things like domestic violence, child abuse, modern slavery, repeated discrimination and abuse on the basis of race or sexuality, spending time in a cult and living in a war zone.

Symptoms of C-PTSD

As well as those of PTSD, you might find that:

  • You hold negative beliefs about yourself; feeling empty, worthless or ‘broken’ in some way
  • It feels as though you have no control over your emotions
  • Relationships with others feel difficult; it’s hard to trust people and you might avoid or struggle to maintain friendships and romantic relationships
  • Dissociation – ‘spacing out’ or feeling as though you lose track of time or that things around you aren’t real.

How can therapy help with C-PTSD?

Because much of the damage of C-PTSD occurs within a relationship of some sort, it’s absolutely vital that you choose a therapist you think you can work with. You might find trusting a therapist hard, and that’s ok; we understand this and will not expect you to feel safe with us right away. It can take time to build that trust.

There are generally three stages to working with C-PTSD in therapy:

  • Stabilisation – in the initial phase of therapy we’ll work on building that relationship between us and will focus on helping you to manage some of your distressing symptoms eg. grounding techniques to manage panic, tools to help with nightmares and giving you information to help you make sense of what you’re going through.
  • Processing – this is where we’ll work to reduce the intensity and distress associated with what you’ve been through in your past. EFT can be used to do this, alongside other specific talking therapies.
  • Reintegration – helping you to look at where you are now in your life and to re-establish relationships and activities that support you to feel connected and safe.

C-PTSD is acquired over a period of time, and generally in the context of a relationship, and so it takes time and a safe, trusted relationship to recover from it.

Life can feel worth living again.

Please contact me if you’d like to discuss how we might work together.

Fernbank Counselling:

About C-PTSD

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