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In recent years, far more people are aware of trauma and the effects it could potentially have on any of us. Even so, there is so much more to learn and know. For example, trauma is not monolithic. It arrives in many forms. Trauma is very much in the eye of the survivor. There is no hierarchy or ranking. You can be traumatized just as easily from a personal event as from a major natural disaster.

In addition, there’s a kind of trauma that occurs in the face of ongoing trials and tribulations. Called Complex Trauma, this issue needs to be identified as such in order to be resolved. 

A woman holds her head in her hands while sitting on a couch. This could represent the stress of trauma that a trauma therapist in Columbus Ohio can offer support with. Search for Columbus therapists or counseling services Columbus Ohio.

What is Complex Trauma?

When most folks think of trauma, they likely conjure images of a singular event. Perhaps it’s a car accident or being victimized by a crime. And yes, these are definitely potentially traumatizing experiences. But what if the abuse, manipulation, pain, or violence is chronic? In this case, we are probably talking about an example of Complex Trauma. 

Once considered rare, research shows that Complex Trauma impacts at least three percent of the general population. Left unchecked, it can lead to a condition called Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).

What Causes Complex Trauma?

It is usually a series of traumatic experiences that are frequently related to one another. The survivor is trapped in a nightmarish cycle that is without escape or appears to be without escape. Most often, this will take place during one’s childhood, but that is not a requirement. To give you a clearer idea of what this means, consider these examples:

  • Living in a war zone
  • Kidnapping or any kind of abduction
  • Neglect or abandonment
  • Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (or incest)
  • Domestic violence
  • Being raised in a violent home or with an addicted caregiver
  • Chronic illness and/or disability 
  • Medical trauma
  • Slavery
  • Being trafficked and/or prostituted  

The list goes on, but you surely get the idea—complex trauma results from relentless suffering in a scenario that offers little or no hope.

How Does Complex Trauma Develop?

A person sits at the bottom of a staircase while hanging his head. This could represent the pain of trauma that a trauma theapist in Columbus Ohio can help you address. Learn more about trauma therapy in Columbus Ohio by searching counseling services columbus ohio.Everyone is different. Every situation is different. There are crises that virtually always result in C-PTSD, but people’s responses can vary widely. However, when Complex Trauma occurs, the mechanics of this reality are the same for everyone.

  • A traumatic event causes your mind and body to go into fight-or-flight mode
  • The body shuts down nonessential functions
  • Stress hormones are released as you prepare to do whatever it takes to survive 

All of this is normal and, ideally, not a problem. When the crisis passes, the body slips out of a state of high alert. However, if the crisis is ongoing (see the list above), your mind may decide it’s safest to remain hyper-vigilant. After a while, it becomes your default setting. In other words, the trauma is trapped inside, and you experience non-stop symptoms.

Common Symptoms of Complex Trauma

  • Intrusive thoughts, e.g., flashbacks and nightmares 
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dissociation 
  • Memory problems and gaps 
  • Inability to regulate emotions 
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Unable to trust others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Problems with interpersonal relationships
  • Unexplained physical symptoms from digestive issues to headaches to a weakened immune system 

Heal From Complex Trauma With a Trauma Therapist in Columbus Ohio 

A close up of a person taking notes while sitting across from a person. Search for a trauma therapist in Columbus Ohio for support with columbus counseling. Learn more about trauma therapy in Columbus Ohio today.As grim as Complex Trauma and C-PTSD can be, there is genuine hope. People can and frequently process and resolve their trauma. They recover and heal. With help from trauma-informed mental health care professionals, relief can be found. Of course, it involves self-care and self-renewal. But therapy is where the critical work is done to get on a path that empowers you to thrive once again. If Complex Trauma has affected you or someone you know, follow these simple steps for support from Blue Boat Counseling:

  1. Get in touch with Blue Boat Counseling using the button below
  2. Get connected with a caring therapist.
  3. Start healing from complex trauma!


Our team offers a variety of other mental health services in addition to trauma therapy. We know that you may require support with other mental health services in addition to past trauma. This is why we are happy to also include services like anxiety therapydepression therapy, and counseling specifically for teens, families, and couples. We also offer online therapy across the state, and support for military veteransContact us to get scheduled or visit our blog to learn more about mental health.