Understanding and Treating C-PTSD
Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) can result from ongoing and repeated exposure to trauma, particularly in childhood. The trauma is frequently in the form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by those in a position of trust such as a parent or other relative, teacher, caregiver, or clergyman. Treating those with C-PTSD is centered on the formation of a strong therapeutic alliance. This article examines how to diagnose C-PTSD and how the therapeutic alliance can be built with patients who have had their trust betrayed by the very people who should have protected them. It also covers a three-part approach to therapy that focuses on (1) coping in the here and now, (2) addressing the root cause of trauma, and (3) moving forward.