Conditions we treat
“CPTSD is a more severe form of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and it tends to develop in childhood, in response to prolonged, repeated experience of interpersonal trauma, with long-term effects of this exposure.”
The sequelae of complex trauma will depend on developmental period during which trauma exposure occurs, being the impairment more chronic and severe when trauma exposure occurs earlier on in the development, causing disruptions in brain development, that later on will be manifested in cognitive deficits, emotional dysregulation, physiological disturbances, and disorganized attachment.
According to Pete Walker, the most noticeable feature of CPTS is emotional flashbacks, which are sudden regressions to the feeling state of the traumatic period. Or as Van Der Kolk mentions, the traumatic memory is state-dependent, in the sense that when a person is exposed to an event in the present that is congruent with the past traumatic experience, the person will experience that same traumatic state as if it was happening now – the person goes back to the original state.
These emotional flashbacks trigger our survival instinct of fight/flight and include intense emotions of fear, shame, anger, grief. Other common features of CPTS are toxic shame, sense of fragility, harsh inner critic, loneliness, and relationship difficulties.