Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the result of repeated and on-going trauma.
The fact that the trauma is chronic, it therefore results in more pervasive and complex effects on the individual and their personality.
Typically, this type of trauma starts in childhood in the home, and therefore goes on for years. If the child also experiences systemic oppression due to race, sexual orientation or gender identity, these add another layer(s) of traumatic stress.
PTSD symptoms include re-experiencing, hyperarousal, and avoidance.
CPTSD includes these symptoms and can include:
- more difficulty managing emotions
- more pervasive negative views of self and a sense that they are fundamentally different from others
- more use of dissociative coping strategies
- loss of meaning or core beliefs about self/others/world
- more difficulty in sustaining healthy relationships due lack of trust, negative view of self and/or avoidance of relationships
Healing CPTSD takes more time than healing PTSD, but it is possible. It often involves not only reprocessing or working through the past traumatic experience, but learning things (coping skills, communication skills, social skills) that were never taught.
Of course, my bias is for EMDR therapy as I have seen the incredible changes that it can produce for both PTSD and CPTSD.