Sheffield Trauma Centre


0845 4563898

Complex PTSD - when the past overwhelms us and intrudes on our capacity to handle the present

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a relatively recently defined condition. It has been known for a long time that people's resilience, that is their capacity to handle stress, trauma and change in their lives can be, indeed is, heavily affected by their pasts. It has been only with the development of trauma related practice that this has been better understood. People whose pasts make them susceptible to difficulties in the present can now be disgnosed with C-PTSD.

Significant childhood traumas, abuse, neglect, parents with mental health problems of their own, can affect the growing infant and child in a number of ways. This has been known for centuries.

What has been less understood is how these historical traumas affect our ability to handle difficulties in the here-and-now.

We are sometimes contacted by people looking for short-term work, say EMDR, when in fact their problems can be more realistically defined as C-PTSD rather than PTSD. Work with these clients is realistically, a longer, deeper and more complex form of therapy, requiring, often, several years.

We have lots of experience in this area, so it feels better to say from the outset that this is the case.