How to Support Someone with Complex PTSD

Aug 10, 2023

Supporting a woman who is living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) requires a compassionate and understanding approach. If you have a close friend or family member with C-PTSD, there are ways to equip yourself to be part of their much-needed support system. In this blog post, we’ll introduce eight ways to support someone with Complex PTSD.

Learning how to help a someone with Complex PTSD is within your reach. It should begin with educating yourself about the condition, its symptoms, and its impact on the person you know. You can offer emotional support while also encouraging her to seek treatment, especially if they’re struggling with sobriety, too. As with support for any kind of mental health needs, it’s important to prioritize your own self-care and seek support from friends, family, or support groups to maintain your own well-being. Hannah’s House offers trauma therapies for women with C-PTSD as well as holistic treatment for women with a history of abusing alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate.

How to Support Someone with Complex PTSD

Because each woman’s experience with C-PTSD is unique, it’s important to speak honestly with her and ask about her personal needs and preferences. Here are eight ways you can provide and sustain support for the woman in your life who needs it.

Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn more about C-PTSD so you can better grasp the disorder, its symptoms, and how it affects your loved one. This information will enable you to give informed support while reducing the possibility of misunderstandings.

Be a Good Listener: Develop a non-judgmental environment for her to communicate her experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Give her your undivided attention while validating her feelings and empathizing with her problems. Avoid appearing to minimize or reject her experiences related to trauma.

Respect Boundaries: A woman who suffers from C-PTSD may have particular triggers or sensitivities. Respect her limits and stay away from situations or themes that may upset her. Allow her to set the speed of her healing, and don’t force her to disclose or talk more than she is comfortable with at any given time.

Offer Emotional Support: Remind her regularly that you are available to provide emotional support. Validate her feelings, show empathy, and provide comfort. Assure her that her feelings are valid and that she is not alone on her path to wellness.

Encourage Seeking Professional Help: Suggest that she get professional counseling from a therapist experienced in treating trauma and C-PTSD. Offer to assist her with doing research and finding appropriate mental health providers in your area. Encourage her to attend therapy sessions on a regular basis and offer to accompany her if she feels comfortable having you there.

Assist with Practical Needs: C-PTSD can have an influence on everyday functioning and other parts of her life. You can help her with duties or commitments that may feel burdensome. This includes assisting with household tasks, childcare, and accompanying her to appointments as necessary.

Be Patient and Understanding: C-PTSD recovery takes time, and healing is a personal and unique process. Be patient and understanding with her while she works through the challenges she faces. Avoid passing judgment, recognize that recovery is rarely a straight line, and remember that setbacks are normal.

Practice Self-Care: Supporting someone with C-PTSD can be difficult and emotionally taxing. To safeguard your well-being, it is critical to prioritize your own self-care and seek help from friends, family, or support groups Be sure not to overextend yourself, and help in ways in which you feel comfortable providing support.

C-PTSD Help Is Available at Hannah’s House

Supporting a friend or family member with C-PTSD can be a multi-step process. Your involvement may begin before treatment and ideally continues during and after treatment. Take the time to educate yourself on C-PTSD and the types of trauma therapy that your friend is receiving. This can help you in understanding their experiences, difficulties, and development. It can also help you have more educated conversations and give greater support. At Hannah’s House, trauma therapies include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), group process or individual therapy, meditation and mindfulness training, and more. These therapies are designed to support female patients with anticipating their own trauma triggers, managing their anger, de-escalating fear, measuring their anxiety reactions, and reprocessing traumatic memories.

Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For more information about the stages of alcoholism in women or to learn about our programs, call us today: 561.841.1272.

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