Complex and Childhood Trauma

Complex trauma refers to times where a client has endured long-term exposure to constantly traumatic and unpredictable circumstances, for example in a domestic violence relationship, but often during childhood or enduring abuse where a person does not have the capacity to leave the situation due to being a child or controlled and threatened. This has impacts on the entire nervous system when someone is living with extreme uncertainty, as the nervous system goes into fight or flight mode, and it’s like constantly walking on eggshells. Over a prolonged period the nervous system becomes hypervigilant and primed for threat.  People in this state are constantly fearful and over time this turns into a range of problems.  

People experiencing complex trauma may have difficulty expressing emotions, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, some cling to unhealthy relationships rather than face the emptiness of being alone, and others cannot tolerate uncertainty and lack trust and avoid relationships altogether.  There is a negative self belief and pervading sense of  emptiness. Due to the significant difficulties they are trying to cope with, people often turn to drugs and alcohol and experience depression and anxiety. 

Complex trauma requires medium to long-term psychotherapy.  BayWellbeing therapists are skilled in working with the range of difficulties which are involved in this condition.  They support with teaching skills to help clients cope better right away and then assist them to process their past and set goals for change. For example, if their goal is to form a new, stable and supportive relationship, work may focus initially by expanding friendships and enhancing relationship skills like kindness, communication and healthy boundaries.