Complex Trauma

Complex Trauma

Trauma is a state of high arousal in which severe threat or the perception of severe threat overwhelms the capacity to cope. Trauma is very common. People experience it differently. Certain experiences are traumatic for some and not for others. The impacts of trauma depend on a person’s age/s, prior experience/s, and its extent and duration.  People can experience trauma in a range of situations. These include natural disasters, accidents, betrayal in relationships, and/or being abused or victimized.

Most people with trauma-related problems have experienced multiple traumas. The term, complex trauma describes exposure to multiple traumas. It also refers to the impacts of that exposure.

Complex trauma:

  • is usually interpersonal i.e. occurs between people
  • involves ‘being or feeling’ trapped
  • soften planned, extreme, ongoing and/or repeated
  • often has more severe, persistent and cumulative impacts
  • involves challenges with shame, trust, self-esteem, identity and regulating emotions.
  • has different coping strategies. These include alcohol and drug use, self-harm, over- or under-eating, over-work etc.
  • affects emotional and physical health, well being, relationships, and daily functioning
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