Treatment for C-PTSD can take many forms, but any treatment should include an approach that focuses specifically on the trauma experienced, cognitive-behavioral therapy focused on trauma, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and exposure therapy (including virtual exposure). The treatment will focus on developing a sense of security and on developing regulatory skills. After achieving some stabilization, the trauma can be processed. Treatment options for complex PTSD include EMDR, trauma-focused CBT, and expressive arts therapy.
The recovery schedule will be different for everyone; it's often a winding road, but the human brain has incredible healing potential and recovery is possible. Medications can help reduce symptoms of C-PTSD, such as anxiety or depression. They are especially useful when used in combination with psychotherapy. Antidepressants are often used to treat complex post-traumatic stress disorder, such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline).
One of the best-known publications on psychology publishes photos of therapists. 26% list the therapies they practice. When looking for a therapist, remember that it won't be an easy process and that it's common to want to give up and avoid dealing with the pain of trauma. These therapies don't get much attention because there is a lack of funding for their research.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to repeated trauma and is struggling to cope with it, it's important to seek help from a therapist who is familiar with PTSD. C-PTSD is definitely a treatment process and it would be irresponsible for any therapist to make a prediction of how long it will last. The treatment for the two conditions is similar, but you may want to discuss some of the additional symptoms of complex trauma that your doctor or therapist may also need to address. Treatment should be performed by a licensed therapist who has specific training in the treatment of traumatic stress.
Therapy allows deep wounds to heal through a specific and safe relationship with the therapist. It's always good to ask a potential therapist what experience they have working with a given topic. Ivy Kwong, LMFT, is a psychotherapist specializing in relationships, love and intimacy, trauma and codependency, and mental health at the AAPI. However, working with a therapist to gain basic and regulatory skills can allow you to process any trauma that is causing constant distress in your life.