Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that results from a traumatic event such as child abuse, or natural disaster et al.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is closely related to the events and symptoms associated with PTSD.
CPTSD results from repeated trauma over months or years rather than a single event.
What Are The Theories Behind This Worksheet?
There are a number of traumatic events that can cause CPTSD. The most common ones include;
- Childhood abuse, neglect or abandonment
- Ongoing domestic violence or abuse
- Repeatedly witnessing violence or abuse
- Being forced or manipulated into prostitution (trading sex)
- Torture, kidnapping or slavery
- Being a prisoner of war.
Studies show that trauma can have a lasting effect on the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. These areas in the brain play a big role in both our memory function and how we respond to stressful situations.
Therapies used to treat CPTSD include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR).
CBT is a talking therapy that helps you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
EMDR is a mental health treatment technique that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that result from trauma. This technique involves moving your eyes in a specific way while you process traumatic memories.
How Will This Worksheet Help You?
People with CPTSD are more likely to struggle with maintaining a support system due to difficulties trusting and interacting with others.
Living with CPTSD can create intense emotional flashbacks that provide challenges in controlling emotions that may provoke severe depression, suicidal thoughts or difficulty in managing anger.
This worksheet is intended to help you understand your triggers, learn to view yourself in a positive light and provide different techniques that will stop the intense feelings of shame and guilt that result from CPTSD.
How Should You Use This Worksheet?
This worksheet should be used any time you experience symptoms of CPTSD.
Symptoms may include emotional flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, and uncontrollable thoughts about an event.
This worksheet can also be used when one is battling with negative thought patterns and emotions.
Use this worksheet to help you desensitize your traumatic memories and thoughts and replace them with more healthy, positive thoughts.
Complex PTSD Worksheet
- List the various ways in which you find yourself reliving your traumatic experience.
- List down situations or activities that remind you of your traumatic experience.
- List down any beliefs and feelings about yourself or others that may have changed due to the traumatic experience.
- What somatic symptoms (physical symptoms that don’t have any underlying medical cause) do you encounter when something reminds you about the traumatic experience?
- List any uncontrollable feelings you may encounter throughout the day.
- Explain a recent episode where you felt detached from your body or mental thoughts.
- Describe the relationship you have with your close family and friends. Are you vested in the relationship? Do you isolate yourself? Explain.
- Identify your negative thought patterns and replace them with healthy positive thoughts.
This specific activity should be done every day before sleeping to help you foster a more healthy approach to your thoughts and feelings.
|NEGATIVE THOUGHTS||POSITIVE THOUGHTS|
- Identify ways in which you can respond better to stress/ stressful situations to improve your quality of life.
- List four things you are grateful for every day before you sleep.
Healthline. (© 2022). Understanding Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/cptsd. [Accessed October 31, 2022]
PTSD: National Center for PTSD. (© 2022). Complex PTSD. Available at: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/complex_ptsd.asp. [Accessed October 31, 2022]
You can download this worksheet here.