How to Manage Complex PTSD

In January 2020, I attended an advanced training program taught by renowned expert, Bessel van der Kolk, author of the Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Bessel spent decades studying the effects of trauma on the brain and how it impacts our mental and physical health.

In his training program, he described one of the most debilitating forms of trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), which is often caused by prolonged exposure to traumatic events, such as physical or emotional abuse.

If you are struggling with C-PTSD, you may feel as though you are trapped in a cycle of pain and despair, unable to escape the memories and emotions that continue to haunt you. However, there are ways to heal from C-PTSD and reclaim your life.

Here are some strategies that Bessel van der Kolk might suggest:

Seek Professional Help

The first step in healing from C-PTSD is to seek the help of a mental health professional who specializes in trauma therapy. Trauma therapy can help you learn coping skills and develop strategies for managing your symptoms.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool for healing from trauma, as it can help you stay present in the moment and reduce the intensity of your emotions. Try practicing mindfulness meditation or other mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing or body scans.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise has been shown to be an effective way to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, both of which are common in people with C-PTSD. Try to find an exercise routine that you enjoy, such as jogging, yoga, or swimming, and make it a regular part of your self-care routine.

Connect with Others

Social support is essential for healing from trauma. Reach out to friends and family members, join a support group for trauma survivors or consider working with a therapist who specializes in group therapy.

Engage in Creative Activities

Art therapy, music therapy, and other creative activities can be powerful tools for healing from trauma. These activities allow you to express yourself in a non-verbal way and can help you process difficult emotions.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care is essential for healing from trauma. Make sure you are getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Final Thoughts

Healing from C-PTSD is a journey, and it may take time and effort to find the strategies that work best for you. However, with the right support and self-care, it is possible to overcome the effects of trauma and reclaim your life. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself as you work through this process, and know that healing is possible.

Contact Me

As an expert in trauma recovery with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Christine Dickson can help you manage the symptoms of C-PTSD and reclaim your life. During your initial consultation, Dr. Dickson will administer a standardized measure called the Detailed Assessment of Post-Traumatic Stress to create a customized treatment plan for your specific needs. Please reach out to make an appointment through her website.

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