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Supporting Your Loved One with Complex PTSD

If someone you love is living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), you might often find yourself feeling helpless, frustrated, or confused about how to best support them. Complex PTSD is not just a challenge for the individuals who experience it, but also for their partners, family members, and friends. Here, we will explore some thoughtful approaches to support your loved ones, informed by trauma counselling principles.





Understanding Complex PTSD


First and foremost, it is crucial to understand what Complex PTSD is and how it differs from more widely known forms of PTSD. Complex PTSD results from prolonged exposure to traumatic circumstances, often without any possibility of escape. Such experiences can include ongoing abuse, living in war zones, or enduring severe neglect. These conditions can lead to a range of emotional, psychological, and behavioural issues, including difficulties in managing emotions, distrust in others, and persistent feelings of sadness or fear.


How You Can Help


1. Educate Yourself: The more you understand about CPTSD, the better equipped you'll be to empathize with your loved one. Educating yourself about their triggers, symptoms, and the nature of their experiences is a fundamental step.

2. Create a Safe Space: Individuals with CPTSD often feel unsafe in their bodies and environments. You can help by creating a safe, predictable space around them. This includes respecting their needs for privacy and downtime and understanding their comfort levels regarding physical touch and social interactions.

3. Listen Actively: Sometimes, the best support you can provide is being an attentive listener. Allow them to share their feelings and experiences without judgment. Active listening also means recognizing when they're not ready to talk and respecting their silence.

4. Encourage Professional Help: While support from loved ones is invaluable, professional help is often crucial for someone dealing with CPTSD. Encouraging your loved one to seek counselling from a trauma-informed professional can be pivotal in their recovery.

5. Set Boundaries: It’s essential for both you and your loved one that you set and respect boundaries. This includes understanding your limits as a caretaker. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a step back and seek support for yourself.

6. Stay Patient and Compassionate: Recovery from CPTSD is a journey that often involves setbacks. Patience and compassion are crucial. Acknowledge small victories and understand that progress may be slow.


The Role of Trauma-Informed Counselling


As a trauma-informed counsellor, I emphasize the importance of understanding the deep-seated nature of trauma and the complex ways it can affect one's life. Counselling from a trauma-informed perspective is not about trying to fix the person, but rather providing them with validation, support, and strategies to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Watching a loved one struggle with Complex PTSD can be incredibly challenging, but you don’t have to navigate this path alone. If you find yourself struggling to support your loved one effectively, or if you simply wish to enhance your ability to help, consider booking a discovery session with me. Together, we can explore personalized strategies and support structures that can make a significant difference in both your lives. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength. Let’s take that first step towards healing together.


To schedule your discovery session or learn more about how I can help, contact me today. Your journey towards a more understanding and supportive partnership is just a conversation away.

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