Childhood Trauma and Complex PTSD

Seeking help when you have experienced childhood trauma or have complex PTSD (cPTSD) can be a difficult and painful process. Perhaps you feel that you do not want to revisit the past fearing this will make you feel worse. It is important that treatment is skilled and sensitive to your needs. 

Childhood trauma can come from a number of distressing experiences such as accidents, bullying, childhood illnesses, death of a loved one or separation from a parent. Unfortunately sometimes trauma is caused by those very people who are supposed to provide care, like a parent or carer, and can include experiences throughout early childhood such as abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), neglect, and witnessing domestic violence.  Complex PTSD is a relatively new diagnostic term applied to people who have experienced childhood trauma and have symptoms similar to PTSD but might also include feelings of worthlessness, shame or guilt, or difficulties connecting with people and forming healthy relationships. If this is you then you may be resorting to self-destructive behaviours to cope, such as self-harm or alcohol/drug abuse in an effort to numb the distressing feelings.

There are types of therapy available for complex PTSD (such as EMDR, for example) where traumatic memories can be effectively processed without you having to describe the childhood trauma in lots of detail. Most importantly you need to feel safe and it may take time to develop a trusting relationship with your therapist. Dealing with the pain of your past is not something you need to do alone and finding someone to help you though this is important. 

More information about childhood trauma can be found here https://napac.org.uk/

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