Therapy for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) in NYC
“After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.”
― Judith Lewis Herman
you’re not alone
What Is Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)?
We Specialize in Therapy for Complex PTSD in NYC
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (also known as complex PTSD or C-PTSD) is a specific form of PTSD. It involves many of the same symptoms, but the key difference is that the trauma that causes complex PTSD is repetitive, and occurs over an extended period of time. An estimated 3.3% of people develop complex PTSD in their lifetime.
Some examples of long-term trauma are:
Experiencing domestic violence
Experiencing child abuse, neglect, or abandonment
Experiencing financial insecurity
Living in a war-torn area
Being a prisoner of war
Being a child soldier
Being part of a group targeted by genocide
Being a victim of kidnapping or human trafficking
Experiencing torture or slavery
Some additional risk factors can also make complex PTSD more likely to develop:
Trauma at an early age
Abuse by a close relative or friend
Not having an escape from a traumatic situation
Often, individuals may be reliant on someone that was supposed to protect them, making it difficult to escape. The abuse they suffer at a vulnerable time in their lives can cause changes in the brain that lead to lifelong troubles if left unresolved.
What Does Complex PTSD Feel Like?
Common Symptoms of Trauma
It can be hard to evaluate your experiences objectively because you might believe that you’re simply overreacting or face outside pressure downplaying your struggles (e.g. “It’s not that big of a deal, I shouldn’t get this upset about it.”). If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing complex PTSD, here are some common symptoms:
Reliving memories — Nightmares and flashbacks that cause you to relive the sensory experience (e.g. sights, sounds, and smells) of traumatic memories, triggering powerful emotions that may feel overwhelming at times..
Avoidance behaviors — Spending significant energy to avoid triggers (e.g. places, situations, people) that remind you of the trauma.
Sense-of-threat symptoms — You might feel like you always have to be on guard, leading to being jumpy, easily startled, and hyper-aware of your surroundings.
Physical symptoms — You may experience dizziness, stomach aches, racing heartbeat, aches and pains, , headaches, difficulty concentrating or memory issues, lethargy, and or trouble sleeping.
Problems with self-esteem — Intense feelings of shame or guilt might make you feel worthless. You may even blame yourself for the traumatic event that you experienced (e.g. “Bad things happened to me because there’s something wrong with me.”).
Problems with relationships — Having your trust abused by someone meant to protect you can make it difficult to trust others. Some people may slowly isolate themselves from friends and family or find themselves in abusive relationships
Emotional dysfunction — You might have difficulty experiencing or sitting with your emotions, which may feel overwhelming or intense at times.
If any of these symptoms have been disrupting your daily life or have left you unable to enjoy the activities you once did, you may want to consider speaking with a therapist who can help.
THERAPISTS WHO CAN HELP
NYC Therapists Who Specialize in Therapy for Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)
Connecting with the right therapist is the most important factor in your search. We’re here to help you find a great match.
What Does Therapy for Complex PTSD Look Like?
How Therapy Can Help Complex PTSD
Just as symptoms can vary from person to person, so can therapy — there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Some of the typical approaches used are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). CBT focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and behaviors and developing better coping mechanisms, while EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (BLS) (this can be tactile, visual, or auditory) to allow clients to reprocess traumatic memories to reduce their intensity and the distress they cause. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed by a psychiatrist.
At Clarity Therapy, our NYC therapists can help you understand your feelings and reduce the severity of your symptoms so that you can feel better. Trauma doesn’t have to rob you of joy in life. The stress of coping with unaddressed trauma symptoms can lead to depression, strained relationships, isolation, and loneliness. Even the minutiae of daily life can feel draining and overwhelming. With therapy, you can begin the journey to forming better relationships and enjoying a fulfilling life.
What if I’m Not Ready To Start Therapy?
Starting therapy can be a difficult decision to make. Sometimes, you’re just not ready — and that’s okay. Below are some helpful steps you can take to help you feel better today:
Connect with others — Complex PTSD can cause you to feel alone in your struggles. A strong support system is essential for your emotional wellbeing and healing. Reach out to those you can trust. If you feel uncomfortable with talking to people you already know, there are free online support groups like Out of the Storm that allow you to connect with fellow survivors. Share your story and listen to the stories of others in turn.
Practice mindfulness — Mindfulness encompasses a wide range of techniques (e.g. breathwork, meditation, etc.) that revolve around living in the present instead of worrying about the past or future. Here’s an introductory article that you can read for more information.
Discover a new activity or hobby — If you find it difficult to process your experiences or express your emotions, try exploring other outlets that feel enjoyable. This could include moving your body in new ways, such as yoga or dance. As another example, journaling can provide a private place for you to give voice to your feelings, allowing you to self-reflect.
Are you struggling to feel better after trauma?
We can help.
Complex PTSD can be difficult to live with, especially if your trauma is still ongoing. We can help you find the coping mechanisms, strategies, and tools you need to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Reach out today for a 30-minute complimentary consultation with a therapist that specializes in therapy for complex PTSD in NYC.