top of page

Harnessing Your Inner Strength: A Guide to CPTSD Healing

Have you experienced a traumatic event or had to endure a long period of physical or emotional abuse? If so, you may be struggling with an often unrecognised mental health condition known as complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). It is important to understand that CPTSD is different than post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and requires specialised treatment. In this guide, we’ll discuss the signs, causes and treatment options for CPTSD as well as ways to find inner strength to help you heal and recover.

I work a lot with adults who are trying to manage and minimise the after-affects of trauma from their childhoods. The problem is, that abuse that was experienced repeatedly, will cause deep changes in the brain's development in the child and dysfunction in the brains of adults.

The bad news is that what happened can never be changed. The good news is that you can learn to reparent yourself, you can recover, learn how to self-soothe and make the inside of you a safe place to be.

What is CPTSD?

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is a mental health disorder that can develop after a person has endured a traumatic event or been exposed to prolonged periods of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. People struggling with CPTSD may feel overwhelmed, have difficulty regulating their emotions, and be unable to trust others.

CPTSD is more severe than PTSD, which is typically associated with a single traumatic event. CPTSD is caused by multiple traumatic experiences, often in childhood, and can significantly interfere with a person’s ability to function in everyday life.

Signs and Symptoms of CPTSD

Individuals with CPTSD may experience a number of psychological and physical symptoms, including, but not limited to:

  • Feelings of guilt, shame, and helplessness

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering and making decisions

  • Feeling emotionally numb

  • Avoidance of certain people and places

  • Hypervigilance and difficulty sleeping

  • Relationship issues

  • Problems with trust and intimacy

  • Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts

  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, body aches and fatigue

Causes of CPTSD

CPTSD is caused by multiple traumatic experiences, often in childhood. Such experiences may include physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Other causes of CPTSD can include natural disasters, war, or other traumatic events.

It is important to note that CPTSD is not caused by a single event, but rather a series of events that are often prolonged, intense, and experienced in childhood. These events may have occurred within the family, at school, or in the community.

Treatment Options for CPTSD

CPTSD can be a difficult and challenging condition to treat, but there are a number of effective treatment options available. Treatment may involve a combination of psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and self-care.

Mental health coaching and counselling is the primary treatment for CPTSD and can help individuals address the underlying causes of their condition. This type of therapy typically involves working with a mental health professional to identify and address the root causes of the disorder. Common therapies used to treat CPTSD include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and exposure therapy.

In addition to psychotherapy, medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may be used to help manage symptoms. It is important to work closely with your doctor to find the right medication and dosage for you.

Finally, lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, exercise, stress management, and getting enough sleep can help reduce symptoms and support overall wellbeing.

Harnessing Your Inner Strength

It is important to remember that you can find inner strength and use it to help you heal and recover. One of the most effective ways to do this is through self-care. Self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself in a way that nurtures your mind, body, and spirit. It may involve engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or simply taking time for yourself.

In addition to self-care, it is also important to practice self-compassion. Self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with kindness and understanding, even when you make mistakes or fail.

The Power of Self-Care and Self-Compassion

Self-care and self-compassion can be powerful tools in the recovery process. Research has shown that when people practice self-care and self-compassion, they are better able to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and manage difficult thoughts and behaviours.

Self-care and self-compassion can also help reduce feelings of shame and guilt, which can be common among those with CPTSD. By recognising that you are worthy of love and care, you can begin to overcome the negative feelings associated with CPTSD and build a healthier relationship with yourself.

Understanding and Overcoming Triggers

Triggers are events, people, or places that can cause an individual with CPTSD to become overwhelmed or to experience flashbacks or other symptoms of their disorder. It is important to identify and understand your triggers so that you can better manage them.

Once you have identified your triggers, you can begin to develop strategies for managing them. This may involve avoiding certain people or places, or engaging in calming activities when you feel triggered. It is also important to practice self-care and self-compassion when dealing with triggers.

Building Healthy Relationships and Boundaries

Relationships can be an important part of recovery from CPTSD. It is important to take the time to identify and build relationships with people who are supportive and understanding. It is also important to set healthy boundaries and to be mindful of how people treat you. Setting boundaries can help you maintain a sense of control over your life and can help protect you from further harm.

Finding a CPTSD practitioner

If you are looking for a CPTSD practitioner near you, it is important to do your research. You can start by asking your primary care physician or mental health provider for referrals. You can also search online to find a therapist with experience treating CPTSD.

Once you have identified potential practitioner, take the time to meet with each of them to determine if they are a good fit for you. Ask questions about their experience and approach to treating CPTSD, and be sure to feel comfortable before committing to treatment.

Dealing with CPTSD Flare-Ups

Unfortunately, it is common for individuals with CPTSD to experience flare-ups of their symptoms. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to take a few moments to acknowledge your feelings and to practice some self-care. Taking a few deep breaths, engaging in a calming activity, or reaching out to a supportive friend or family member can be helpful in managing symptoms.

It is also important to remember that flare-ups are normal and will pass with time. Finding inner strength and being gentle with yourself can help you to manage your symptoms and to keep moving forward in your recovery.


Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious mental health condition that can be difficult to treat. However, with the right treatment and support, it is possible to find inner strength and to heal from CPTSD.

If you or someone you know is struggling with CPTSD, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With the right treatment and support, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and find ways to cope with their disorder.

If you are looking for a CPTSD informed practitioner near you, or online, take the time to do your research and find a provider who is a good fit for you. With the right help and support, you can find inner strength and begin to heal and recover from CPTSD.

18 views0 comments

Join our community

Are you looking for a supportive and understanding community that can help you navigate your mental health journey?

By joining our community, you'll gain access to a wealth of resources, insights, and advice from others who have faced similar struggles.

Join our mental health community today and take the first step towards a happier, healthier you!

Image of Scott Berry, Mental Health Coach and Counsellor
- Scott Berry

Join our Thrive community

✅ Connect with a community of individuals who understand what you're going through and provide empathy and support.

✅ Learn evidence based techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation, to improve mental health.

✅ Experience the positive impact on your life and relationships, when joining a likeminded, Thriving community.

✅ Stay up-to-date on the latest mental health research, resources, and tips to support your well-being.

bottom of page