At the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh we can help individuals on the journey to healing from Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD). Our trauma-informed therapists are trained to recognize the subtle signs of complex trauma, creating a safe space for individuals to explore their experiences and embark on a journey of understanding and healing through cPTSD therapy.
Understanding cPTSD: Beyond PTSD
In 1992, Dr. Judith Herman, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, and director of training at the Victims of Violence Program at Cambridge Hospital suggested that a new diagnosis, cPTSD, an acronym for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was needed to describe the symptoms of long-term trauma. cPTSD is a mental health condition that can develop in response to prolonged exposure to trauma, often involving interpersonal relationships. While sharing similarities with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), cPTSD encompasses a broader range of symptoms that extend beyond the typical trauma response.
Signs of cPTSD
Identifying cPTSD can be challenging, as its symptoms manifest in various ways and is often misdiagnosed due to its similarities with other disorders. Some common indicators include a persistent negative self-image, difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy relationships, intense feelings of shame, and struggles with emotional regulation. Many individuals with cPTSD may also contend with a fragmented sense of identity and a pervasive feeling of emptiness.
It’s crucial to note that experiencing these events does not automatically mean traumatization. Trauma’s impact is influenced by several biological and environmental factors that shape perception and physiological regulation.
The Impact of Emotional Neglect on cPTSD
It’s essential to recognize that emotional neglect can also be a significant contributor to the development of cPTSD. Emotional neglect, often overlooked or dismissed, involves the absence of crucial emotional support during important developmental stages. Even when basic physical needs are met, emotional neglect can leave lasting scars, impacting self-worth, interpersonal relationships, and emotional regulation.
Trauma-Informed cPTSD Therapy Approaches
At the Counseling and Wellness Center, we recognize the importance of tailoring our counseling approaches to meet the unique needs of each individual through cPTSD therapy. Our therapists are proficient in a range of specialized therapeutic modalities, including:
- EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing): EMDR targets upsetting life experiences that have not been stored properly in memory areas of the brain. Unprocessed or blocked traumatic memories often need help from therapies like EMDR to become processed or unblocked.
- Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS): IFS is an approach to psychotherapy that identifies and addresses multiple sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts of acceptance and mindfulness. It is particularly helpful for individuals who struggle with emotional regulation.
- Narrative Therapy: Narrative therapy involves exploring and reshaping the stories people tell about themselves and their experiences. It can be helpful in reframing and reconstructing one’s understanding of traumatic events.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): CPT is a short-term evidence-based treatment for PTSD and related disorders. It is based on cognitive theory and helps individuals recognize the impact that the traumatic event has had on their thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors through cPTSD therapy.
- Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Mindfulness practices involve cultivating present-moment awareness to reduce stress and increase well-being.
- Psychodynamic Therapy: This type of therapy explores unconscious thoughts and feelings that may be contributing to current difficulties. It can help individuals gain insight into the roots of their trauma and develop coping strategies.
- Somatic Therapy: Somatic therapy centers on using the body as the primary focus for healing. Practitioners assert that negative emotions, especially from trauma, can be trapped within the body. Techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, vagus nerve stimulation and body movement are employed to release built-up tension and enhance emotional and physical well-being.
- Medication: For those exploring medication management for cPTSD, consult a psychiatric provider, like a mental health nurse practitioner with trauma expertise. While there isn’t a single “cure” for trauma, medication serves as a valuable tool for symptom management. It complements efforts to develop new regulation skills and process past traumatic experiences.
Ready to Get Started With cPTSD Therapy?
Embarking on the path to healing from cPTSD is a courageous decision, and you don’t have to face it alone. The Counseling and Wellness Center is here to support you every step of the way. By seeking specialized cPTSD therapy, you are investing in your well-being and taking a crucial step towards reclaiming a life filled with resilience, connection, and personal growth.
cPTSD YouTube Playlist
Blogs About cPTSD and Trauma
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 18, 2023 chronic stress, complex trauma, cptsd, early childhood experiences, helpless, helplessness, learned helplessness, powerless, powerlessness, self efficacy, self empowerment, stress, stress management, trauma, traumatic childhood0 comments
Learned Helplessness: End the Cycle of Powerlessness Learned helplessness, a psychological phenomenon discovered by psychologist Martin Seligman in the late 1960s, speaks to a state of mind where you believe you have no control over your circumstances. This leads to passive acceptance of negative situations even when opportunities for change exist, with profound...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 7, 2023 abuse, adult children of emotionally immature parents, borderline personality disorder, boundaries, BPD, BPD Relationships, complex trauma, counseling for trauma, cptsd, dysfunctional family, emotionally immature parents, family counseling, family estrangement, generational trauma, invalidation, Narcissistic mother, Narcissistic parents, narcissistic personality disorder, Personality disorders, pittsburgh, resilience to trauma, therapy for trauma, toxic family, toxic parents, trauma, trauma counseling, trauma informed care, trauma therapy, traumatic childhood, victim blaming1 comment
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents Being a parent is a big responsibility. And sometimes, parents find it difficult to work through their emotions. A parent’s inability to be emotionally mature, often referred to as emotionally immature parents, can make things complicated for their kids and the entire family as a whole. The...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMarch 29, 2023 fight flight freeze, flight or fight, freeze response, nervous system, nervous system regulation, stress responses, trauma21 comments
The stress responses conversation has been ramping up on social media as we move closer to becoming a more emotionally intelligent and trauma-informed society. But what are stress responses, how do they work, how can I recognize if I am in one; and is it me, or do they keep changing? These are all valid questions that we will try to break down in this blog series. By now, most of...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 7, 2022 counseling for trauma, help for trauma victims, resilience to trauma, therapy for trauma, trauma, trauma counseling, trauma informed care, trauma therapy, types of trauma, what is trauma0 comments
What is Trauma? When you hear the word trauma or trauma counseling what comes to mind? It is common for people to hear the word trauma and think of those one-time catastrophic events (car accidents, assault, robbery, natural disasters, etc.) that result in major injuries like broken bones, head injuries, or lacerations, and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghMay 19, 2021 bereavement, divorce, family estrangement, family loss, grief, grief counseling, grief counseling monroeville, grief counseling pittsburgh, grief therapy, grief therapy monroeville, grief therapy pittsburgh, grieving the loss of a parent, Uncategorized0 comments
Losing someone close to you can invoke many complex emotions like sadness, pain, loss, and hurt. These feelings are natural and a part of life, but with complicated grief, or complicated bereavement disorder, such feelings don’t fade with time or improve. Their emotions might be so intense that it disrupts their daily life. Living with complicated grief can bring up dysfunctional behaviors and...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 30, 2018 compassion, pittsburgh, positive psychology, resilience to trauma0 comments
Honor your healing journey The four things your therapist wants you to know about your healing journey. When you’re healing from a grief, trauma, or resultant PTSD, you must be thinking about ‘how will I ever move on from this horrible, unexpected, agonizing reaction to the traumatic situation that I have experienced?’ Remember, PTSD is a reaction to witnessing or experiencing a sudden...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 7, 2018 abuse, abuse resources, domestic violence, help for trauma victims, rape, resilience, survivors, trauma counseling, validation, victim blaming, victims0 comments
Provide grace & resilience to trauma survivors. How to Provide Grace and Resiliency to a Friend or Family Member Who Discloses Trauma. According to the United States Veterans Administration, about 50% of women and 60% of men will...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghSeptember 30, 2018 counseling for anxiety, counseling for PTSD, psychotherapist, touch, yoga for trauma0 comments
Consent, Please Do Not Touch My Body Hands off-Please Do Not Touch My Body. Closeness is sacred and powerful, and we should share it however we would like with a partner or partners with whom we have provided consent. Personally, I am a ‘toucher’, meaning I am a person who enjoys touch with my partner, someone who hugs family and friends and genuinely savors safe closeness. As we...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 21, 2018 counseling for PTSD, psychology, psychotherapy, ptsd, trauma, trauma informed care, trauma therapy1 comment
Trauma Informed Care We have fantastic and astonishing memory abilities, the human mind and its processes, particularly in the way we store and retrieve the effective memories which then effect the way that we store and respond to our other memories and sensory input. Evolutionary psychology examines the way some things that can be problematic are often helpful to us in the past and as we...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghApril 2, 2018 anxiety, anxiety therapy pittsburgh0 comments
Acute Stress Disorder Acute stress disorder is a form of anxiety disorder which develops shortly or immediately after exposure to a traumatic event in which real or threatened harm or injury was experienced or threatened to the self or other. Acute Stress Disorder differs from Post-Traumatic Stress disorder in the time from in which the associated symptoms are exhibited. To reach the...Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghApril 1, 2018 anxiety, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, counseling for anxiety, counseling pittsburgh, help for anxiety, licensed therapist monroeville, licensed therapist pittsburgh, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, searching for a therapist in monroeville, searching for a therapist pittsburgh, therapy, Therapy and Counseling For Anxiety0 comments
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a form of anxiety disorder which stems from exposure to a traumatic event or situation which caused real or threatened injury to and this can also be caused by the witnessing of an event or situation which injured or threatened injury to another person. According to the DSM IV, there is a lifetime prevalence rate of about 8% for...Learn More
Your inner voice, or more accurately, inner voices each of them tugging to be the declarer of your thought and action. Their presence is perfectly normal as they are the culmination of your past, present, and anticipated future experiences melded into your very little internal advisors. At their best, these voices are a valuable hot bed of wisdom! They are the voices that guide one towards the...Learn More
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