Complex Post Trauma Responses
Psychologist, Gestalt Psychotherapist
Perth, Western Australia
Whilst PTSD can develop from a single traumatic event, cPTSD may result from prolonged or repeated exposure to trauma. This trauma can take many forms, including childhood abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or long-term captivity.
Prolonged exposure can lead to a range of complex symptoms that are more pervasive than those associated with PTSD and can be challenging for individuals to manage by themselves. While there is no agreed-upon timeline for when PTSD might evolve into cPTSD, it is generally accepted that the longer an individual is exposed to trauma, the greater the likelihood that they will develop more complex symptoms.
Individuals with cPTSD usually experience some of the symptoms of PTSD. In addition, they typically experience a significant impact on their sense of self. They may experience a profound sense of shame or guilt related to their experiences, leading to negative beliefs about themselves and their worthiness. This can manifest in symptoms such as self-harm or substance abuse. They are likely to experience:
- Difficulty regulating their emotions; for example, experiencing intense mood swings.
- More severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling disconnected from their body or surroundings.
- A more profound sense of helplessness and struggle to form and maintain healthy relationships.
Not everyone who experiences repeated trauma will develop C-PTSD. Some individuals may develop resilience and coping mechanisms that allow them to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. However, individuals who do develop cPTSD often report disruption to their daily functioning and may require specialized treatment and support to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Contact Bernadette if you would like further information, assessment or to discuss treatment options.
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Phone: 0417 777 230
Mount Lawley Counselling Centre
13 Alvan Street
Mt Lawley (Perth), WA 6050