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Complex Trauma Information & Resources

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"The traumatic stress field has adopted the term 'complex trauma' to describe the experience of multiple, chronic and prolonged, developmentally adverse traumatic events, most often of an interpersonal nature (eg, sexual or physical abuse, war, community violence) and early-life onset. These exposures often occur within the child's caregiving system and include physical, emotional, and educational neglect and child maltreatment beginning in early childhood." van der Kolk, Bessel A. Psychiatric Annals; Thorofare Vol. 35, Iss. 5,  (May 2005): 401-408. DOI:10.3928/00485713-20050501-06

Complex (or chronic/ongoing) PTSD is not (yet) a formal diagnosis for insurance purposes (in the USA). Your therapist or other healthcare provider may need to use a diagnosis code for"PTSD" so that your treatment is covered. That said, because C-PTSD and "regular" PTSD are quite different, you will want to make sure that your provider is familiar with treatments for C-PTSD.

Some ways that C-PTSD differs from "regular" PTSD

Maybe you're experiencing a flashback

Pete Walker: lots of great information, including more on emotional/non-visual flashbacks. Also check out his books:

The Tao of Fully Feeling (affiliate link)

Complex PTSD

John Bradshaw lectures:

Inner child:

PBS shows and more (including Bradshaw on: The Family, Bradshaw on: Homecoming):

Alice Miller's work is also often referred to. (I haven't read any of it yet.)

The Body Keeps the Score Bessel van der Kolk

Somatic Experiencing

Insight Timer's A Guide to Healing Trauma - Ralph De La Rosa (course requires paid membership, but he has some freebies as well)

If you like that course, also check out the author's book The Monkey is the Messenger.


Somatic Descent

Polyvagal theory

Safe & Sound Protocol

Attachment Theory

Secure attachment - what you want (good news: this can be learned as an adult!)

Insecure attachments - what many of us have:

Avoidant attachment style leads to feeling like no one will be there for you, so you become very independent. Also leads to perfectionism (maybe if I'm perfect, mom or dad will love me).

There is a difference between "good-enough parenting"

**invalidating someone's experience, e.g., kid falls down and parent says "you're okay"

Think you had it too good to have experienced developmental trauma?

Childhood Emotional Neglect

"Parents who under-notice, undervalue or under-respond to their child’s emotions inadvertently convey a powerful, subliminal message to the child: Your feelings don’t matter."

" can happen in otherwise loving, caring families that lack for nothing materially."

The above are from 7 Signs You Grew Up With Childhood Emotional Neglect

A Surprising Emotion People With Childhood Emotional Neglect Often Feel - Jonice Webb

Are you an instructor of a mind-body practice? This is a good guide to creating a safe space for your students.

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