Complex PTSD Therapy in NYC
“When all you know is fight or flight, red flags and butterflies all feel the same.” - Cindy Cherie
What is Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), and how is it different from other forms of PTSD?
Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), or complex trauma, is like PTSD in many ways, but it specifically describes trauma that is formed over an extended period of time, rather than a single event over a short period of time.
Someone who experienced abuse throughout childhood, or was a victim of domestic violence for many years would likely be classified with C-PTSD.
Other examples of long-term trauma are:
- Living in poverty
- Being a human trafficking victim
- Living in a war zone
- Experiencing torture
Symptoms of C-PTSD are the same as PTSD in many ways, including anxiety, fear, hypervigilance, social isolation, and recurring nightmares, to name a few, but they C-PTSD symptoms may also include:
- Relationship issues, such as having difficulty maintaining friendships and relationships
- Persistent feelings of worthlessness, shame, and guilt
To be clear, complex PTSD and (simple) PTSD are both caused by extremely distressing events, with neither being necessarily more traumatizing than the other. They are distinguished by their differences in duration and specific-ness of the traumatic event(s).
Complex trauma is a product of distress over time. An adult with a history of being abused as a child may have difficulty differentiating between abusive and healthy relationships. This individual may not be able to directly pinpoint a defining traumatic experience, as they have normalized trauma in their life.
What does therapy for complex PTSD in NYC look like?
Talk therapy or psychotherapy
Talk therapy or psychotherapy comes in many forms, but it is designed to help you identify traumatic thoughts and train you to deal with them in a healthy, productive way. Two main forms of talk therapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic Therapy.
CBT can be considered the more practical approach—it involves identifying specific triggers that lead to harmful thoughts and your trauma symptoms. Through CBT, you will be trained to develop practical skills to successfully navigate your day to day life.
Psychodynamic therapy is the longer term approach, and is fitting for complex PTSD because psychodynamic therapy focuses on how your past influences your present. By gaining a greater understanding of the causes of your trauma, you will be able to accept it and move forward from it.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is another form of psychotherapy that is particularly useful for trauma/PTSD therapy. In EMDR, you will be instructed to undergo an eye movement procedure while participating in talk therapy. Your eye movements stimulate parts of your brain that allow you to unlock memories and talk about them productively in your sessions.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) medications
Aside from talk therapy, SSRIs are a common medication used to manage symptoms of trauma and PTSD. It is often recommended to combine talk therapy and SSRIs as a part of the therapy process.
Work with an NYC complex trauma therapist at Integrative Psych
Integrative Psych is an NYC-based private practice specializing in the treatment of trauma, PTSD, and related conditions. Many of our clients are based in Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, Manhattan (Chelsea, Village, Lower East Side, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Tribeca, SoHo), Connecticut, Westchester but our complex trauma therapists are licensed to treat anyone in the state of New York.
Integrative Psych takes a compassionate, comprehensive and holistic approach to complex trauma diagnosis and treatment. We will carefully explore your present life and early life, evaluating all factors that could be contributing to your complex trauma.
When making recommendations, treatment may involve tailored medication and likely include a blend of therapy including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), depending on what works best for you.
Decisions about what treatment or treatments to pursue are made as a team, between you and your complex trauma therapist. Once you have begun care with us, we will see you regularly to monitor your progress and make any adjustments necessary to ensure that you benefit fully from your treatment at Integrative Psych.
If you’re seeking treatment and interested in working with one of our trauma therapists, book an appointment here.