Living Free

Specializing in the treatment of PTSD, Complex Psychological Trauma, Addictions and other Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS)

Dr Reshie Joseph,

what is

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma generally refers to traumatic stressors that are interpersonal, that is, they are premeditated, planned, and caused by other humans, such as violating and/or exploitation of another person. Common, everyday examples of these stressors include but are not limited to:

Psychological Trauma

Basically, psychological trauma is defined not from the event itself, but from the fact that the individuals’ neurocircuitry and neurophysiology are overwhelmed, disrupted and negatively impacted to a degree that the individual’s neuropsychological mechanisms are unable to cope with the stress of the event. The cascade of symptoms that ultimately occur due to this inability to adapt to, and find meaning in the event lead to neuropsychological systems that maladapt and these mal-adaptations form the basis of the traumatic symptoms.

Frequently Asked

Some stressors can actually be life threatening due to the degree of violence, physical violation, and deprivation involved. Most however threaten the individual’s emotional, mental health and physical well being due to the degree of personal invalidation, disregard, neglect, abandonment, deprivation, active antipathy, and coercion involved.

Yes. Interpersonal trauma does happen within the family. This type of trauma which stands out from all other forms of trauma for a number of reasons, is now referred to as ‘family-of-origin trauma’ and occurs between family members or in other close significant relationships.

By far, the commonest forms of abuse (physical and emotional), assault and violence of all kinds occur between people who know each other, and more often than not very familiar with and even have close relationships with each other.

Over time, the victim becomes increasingly debilitated, despondent, or in a state of adaptation, accommodation, and dissociation with the perceived power differential between perpetrator and victim becomes ever larger and further compounded.


Complex Trauma

What Is
Complex Trauma?

Complex trauma generally refers to traumatic stressors that are interpersonal…

A Brief History Of
Psychological Trauma

The English word ‘trauma’ derives from the ancient Greek word τραῦμα…

The Neurobiology
Of Trauma

The human brain is wired up in such a way that survival is given precedence…

75% of all trauma is inter-personal.

This means it is inflicted (often purposefully) by one human being onto another.

When such adversities occur in the context of close relationships and are perpetrated by the very human beings we should rely on for our survival and well being, they involve a level of interpersonal betrayal that create immense difficulties in the future with personal identity and therefore in relationships with others.