Navigating complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) requires a comprehensive approach due to its multifaceted nature. In addition to symptoms commonly associated with PTSD, individuals with C-PTSD may struggle with managing emotions, experiencing intense anger, and facing challenges in trusting others. Addressing C-PTSD in therapy typically involves long-term treatment, and both therapists and clients may encounter confusion or obstacles along the way.

To support clients with C-PTSD, therapists often focus on universal goals aimed at promoting healing and resilience. These goals may include fostering a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship, providing validation and empathy, developing coping strategies to manage emotions and triggers, building skills for communication and interpersonal relationships, and promoting self-compassion and empowerment. By working collaboratively towards these goals, individuals with C-PTSD can gradually reclaim agency over their lives and embark on a journey towards healing and recovery.

Goals to remember to combat C-PTSD:

  • Challenge avoidance: Instead of fleeing from traumatic experiences and difficult emotions, confronting them head-on allows for understanding their patterns and predictability. This understanding is crucial for effectively addressing and navigating through them.
  • Enhance autonomy and self-determination: By comprehending the origins of trauma and reflecting on them, individuals can rewrite their narratives, fostering healthier approaches to dealing with trauma. This process empowers individuals to recognize that healing is possible.
  • Improve ability to manage big emotions: Developing awareness of bodily sensations and emotions and learning to label them facilitates self-awareness, enabling individuals to better support themselves during challenging emotional experiences.
  • Enhancing sense of self and personal identity: Trauma often erodes one’s sense of self and identity. By actively seeking and affirming personal strengths and abilities, individuals can rebuild a stronger sense of self and work towards personal growth.
  • Repair the mind-body split: Reconnecting with the body fosters body awareness, which in turn facilitates reflection on bodily sensations. This integration supports holistic healing and emotional regulation.
  • Enhance sense of personal control: Celebrating accomplishments, recognizing strengths, and nurturing self-belief are vital for cultivating a sense of personal control and agency. This shift away from negative emotions towards self-affirmation is empowering.
  • Recognize traumatic reenactments: Understanding and managing patterns of behavior stemming from trauma is essential for breaking free from cycles of reenactment. Crisis management and safety planning help individuals recognize these patterns and enact positive change.
  • Address chronic helplessness: Trauma therapy strategies such as goal setting, decision-making, and boundary management empower individuals to combat feelings of helplessness. These practical tools facilitate a sense of agency and progress towards healing.

By implementing these strategies, individuals can embark on a journey of healing and empowerment, reclaiming control over their lives and identities in the aftermath of trauma.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.

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