How to overcome trauma – developmental and complex


Mental Health Blog / Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Before we look at how developmental and complex traumas can be overcome, it’s important to understand exactly what they are and how they can impact your life.

Like all traumas, developmental and complex traumas are psychological wounds brought on by unexpected events that cause severe shock.

What makes them different from other traumas and classifies them is that the damaging events occur more than once in the person’s life. Beyond this point, their similarities end.

Brought on by unintentional neglect, mental abuse or abandonment, developmental traumas take place within the first four years of a person’s life and are the products of their emotional needs not being met by their primary caregivers. Because the primary caregivers are oblivious of their hurtful actions and don’t recognise the traumatic symptoms when they occur, most often it falls on the victim to seek healing for their psychological wounds once they are adults.

The events that cause complex traumas are not at all subtle. They’re inflicted by natural disasters or people quite aware their words and/or actions are creating damage. To add insult to injury, when abusive people are the cause, the victim is likely to suffer these additional afflictions:

  • Low self esteem
  • Relationship difficulties
  • An inability to control overwhelming feelings

When in the process of overcoming a trauma be gentle with yourself, accept the possibility of but don’t expect a quick healing and get all the support you can (professional and otherwise). In addition, choose one or more therapies that resonate with you. Here’s three of the most effective ones:

  • Exposure therapy- A therapy in which you gradually face your own fears and disruptive emotions, eventually learning they’re unwarranted and allowing them to fade away
  • Relaxation training- A therapy that empowers you to control your stress and anxiety levels so the traumas can heal
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy- A therapy that attempts to change your negative thought patterns by teaching you new skills

As a qualified psychotherapist, I’m trained to help people overcome the emotional impact of trauma.  If you have suffered from trauma, developmental or complex, and wish for help in releasing its impact on your life, please contact me in confidence.

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