- “What is Complex PTSD?, Judith Lewis-Herman,
Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is the result of multiple traumatic events occurring over a period of time, often referred to as “complex trauma”.
Causes include multiple incidents of child abuse, particularly child physical abuse and child sexual abuse, prolonged domestic violence, concentration camp experiences, torture, slavery, and genocide campaigns.
Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is not a diagnosis in the DSM-5 psychiatric manual, released in 2013, but is planned for inclusion in the ICD-11 diagnostic manual, due for release in 2017. ”
“Judith Lewis-Herman, who first proposed Complex PTSD as a separate diagnosis, stated:
Observers who have never experienced prolonged terror, and who have no understanding of coercive methods of control, often presume that they would show greater psychological resistance than the victim in similar circumstances.
The survivor’s difficulties are all too easily attributed to underlying character problems, even when the trauma is known. When the trauma is kept secret, as is frequently the case in sexual and domestic violence, the survivor’s symptoms and behavior may appear quite baffling, not only to lay people but also to mental health professionals.
The clinical picture of a person who has been reduced to elemental concerns of survival is still frequently mistaken for a portrait of the survivor’s underlying character.” 
Retrieved Nov 26, 2019 from http://traumadissociation.com/complexptsd. This information can be copied or modified for any purpose, including commercially, provided a link back is included. License: CC BY-SA 4.0
1. Herman, J. L. (1992). Complex PTSD: A syndrome in survivors of prolonged and repeated trauma. J Trauma Stress, 5(3), 377–391. doi:10.1007/bf00977235
2. World Health Organization. (1992). The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/bluebook.pdf
3. World Health Organization. (May 31, 2016). ICD-11 Beta Draft (Joint Linearization for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics).
4. Cloitre, M., Courtois, C.A., Ford, J.D., Green, B.L., Alexander, P., Briere, J., Herman, J.L., Lanius, R., Stolbach, B.C., Spinazzola, J., Van der Kolk, B.A., Van der Hart, O. (2012). The ISTSS Expert Consensus Treatment Guidelines for Complex PTSD in Adults. Retrieved from December 10, 2014 http://www.istss.org/ISTSS_Main/media/Documents/ComplexPTSD.pdf
5. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association. ISBN 0890425558.
6. Cloitre, M., Garvert, D. W., Brewin, C. R., Bryant, R. A., & Maercker, A. (2013). Evidence for proposed ICD-11 PTSD and complex PTSD: a latent profile analysis. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4(0). doi:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.20706
7. Cloitre, M., Garvert, D. W., Weiss, B., Carlson, E. B., & Bryant, R. A. (2014). Distinguishing PTSD, Complex PTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder: A latent class analysis. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5(0). doi:10.3402/ejpt.v5.25097
8. Williams, M. B., (2002). The PTSD workbook simple, effective techniques for overcoming traumatic stress symptoms. Oakland, Calif.: New Harbinger Publications. ISBN 160882148X. Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/complexptsd
- Shawna Freshwater, Ph.D.: “What are common reactions to trauma? All kinds of trauma survivors commonly experience stress reactions. This is true for veterans, children, and disaster rescue or relief workers. If you understand what is happening when you or someone you know reacts to a traumatic event, you may be less fearful and better able to handle things.” Common Reactions to Trauma, September 29, 2017, https://spacioustherapy.com/common-reactions-trauma/
- The United States Department of Veterans Affairs explains that there is a difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD, https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/ptsd-overview/complex-ptsd.asp
- PTSD: National Center for PTSD, https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/problems/common-reactions-after-trauma.asp
- Christine A. Courtois PhD, ABPP Trauma Treatment and Consulting Services, Complex trauma is described by psychologist and trauma expert Dr. Christine Courtois, as “a type of trauma that occurs repeatedly and cumulatively, usually over a period of time and within specific relationships and contexts.” Examples include severe child abuse, domestic abuse, or multiple military deployments into dangerous locales. http://drchriscourtois.com/
- ISTSS Guidelines for Complex PTSD Treatment, Journal of Traumatic Stress, July 1992, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 377–391|, Judith Lewis Herman, Complex PTSD: A syndrome in survivors of prolonged and repeated trauma, http://www.istss.org/treating-trauma/istss-complex-ptsd-treatment-guidelines.aspx
- Recognizing Complex Trauma, Educating ourselves on the after-effects of repetitive or cumulative trauma Lisa Firestone Ph.D., Compassion Matters, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201207/recognizing-complex-trauma