Complex Trauma EMOTIONAL ABUSE PARENTAL ALIENATION Post-traumatic Stress

Q & A – What is Complex trauma?

Complex trauma is a type of trauma that occurs repeatedly or over an extended period of time, often in the context of interpersonal relationships, and can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. Complex trauma can include experiences such as ongoing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, exposure to community violence, and repeated relational disruptions or losses.

Unlike a single traumatic event, complex trauma is characterized by the chronic and pervasive nature of the trauma, and can lead to significant challenges in areas such as emotional regulation, interpersonal relationships, and self-identity. This is because complex trauma often occurs during critical periods of development, such as childhood, when an individual’s brain and nervous system are still developing.

Some common symptoms of complex trauma include flashbacks, dissociation, hypervigilance, anxiety, depression, shame, self-harm, substance abuse, and difficulties in trusting and forming healthy relationships.

Effective treatment for complex trauma often involves a comprehensive, trauma-informed approach that addresses the individual’s emotional, cognitive, and physiological needs. This can include therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and somatic experiencing. Additionally, creating a safe and supportive environment and building a sense of connection and trust with the therapist or caregiver can be crucial in supporting the individual’s healing and recovery from complex trauma.

©Linda Turner 2023

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Holocaust Denial 

We will show you these concentration camps in motion pictures, just as the Allied armies found them when they arrived. Our proof will be disgusting and you will say I have robbed you of your sleep. I am one who received most atrocity tales with suspicion and skepticism. But the proof here will be so overwhelming that I venture to predict not one word I have spoken will be denied.” 

–Thomas Dodd Nuremberg prosecutor, 1947


Revenge Fantasies After Experiencing Traumatic Events

Experiences of humiliation, unjust hurt caused by another or anger naturally, elicit the desire to seek revenge and fantasies of revenge. The current study examined the associations between a history of traumatic events and feelings of injustice and levels of desire for revenge-seeking and fantasies of revenge. Specifically, it tested whether feelings of injustice mediated the associations between the number of past traumatic events and the desire for revenge or revenge fantasies. Based on recent studies showing that retaliatory violence is gendered, sex differences in levels of feelings of injustice, desire for revenge, and the presence of revenge fantasies were explored, as well whether participants’ sex conditioned the mediation models. The results showed positive associations between feelings of injustice and the desire for revenge and revenge fantasies. The mediation model indicated that feelings of injustice mediated the associations between the number of previous traumatic events and the desire for revenge or revenge fantasies. Men had higher levels of revenge fantasies than women, whereas women tended to perceive revenge as pointless. A sex effect was found for the mediation model, which revealed significant regressed models for women but not for men. The clinical implications are discussed.


Trauma – Face it

Complex Trauma EMOTIONAL ABUSE Post-traumatic Stress

Coping after a traumatic event

How will I feel after a traumatic event?

How long will it take for these feelings to go away?

What should I do if I have experienced a traumatic event?

When should I get professional help?

What if I get PTSD?

What professional help is available?

Can my doctor prescribe medication to help me cope?

How can I support someone who has experienced a traumatic event?

How can I be a supportive employer?

Further help

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Neuroscience Research

The brain learns through trusting relationships If we are with people we know and trust then our minds are more open to new experiences. We are open to trying something new or to changing our beliefs about the world and other people.
The capacity of the brain to learn in everyday life depends on relationships with trusted others.

A lack of trust can make us feel isolated and disengaged – even if we are with others – and make us less able to learn. For children who have experienced abuse and neglect, a lack of trust may be one factor that explains their greater difficulty in learning. A child who does not trust those around them needs to be vigilant and wary. They may not
be able to focus their attention on what excites and engages them in the classroom or at home

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Childhood Trauma and the Brain: How Mental Health Problems Develop

We know that mental health problems after abuse and neglect are not inevitable. Many children grow up to be healthy and successful adults. In this video, Linking Childhood Trauma to Mental Health, Professor Eamon McCrory explains what scientists have learned about how mental health problems develop over time in an accessible way for professionals and carers working with children.

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What is trauma and how does it affect the brain?

What is trauma, what does it look like, and how does it affect the brain? These questions are discussed in this month’s Child in Mind podcast. Presenter Claudia Hammond is joined by David Trickey, Consultant Clinical Child Psychologist in the Trauma and Maltreatment Service at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

Complex Trauma Post-traumatic Stress

Psychological therapies for chronic post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults

Randomised controlled trials of individual trauma‐focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TFCBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), non‐trauma‐focused CBT (non‐TFCBT), other therapies (supportive therapy, non‐directive counselling, psychodynamic therapy and present‐centred therapy), group TFCBT, or group non‐TFCBT, compared to one another or to a waitlist or usual care group for the treatment of chronic PTSD. The primary outcome measure was the severity of clinician‐rated traumatic‐stress symptoms.

Complex Trauma Post-traumatic Stress

PTSD and Parental Alienation