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A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD: Compassionate Strategies to Begin Healing from Childhood Trauma Paperback – May 12, 2020
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Reclaim yourself from childhood trauma―evidence-based strategies for healing complex PTSD
Repetitive trauma during childhood can impact your emotional development, creating a ripple effect that carries into adulthood. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a physical and psychological response to these repeated traumatic events. A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD contains research-based strategies, tools, and support for individuals working to heal from their childhood trauma. You don’t have to be a prisoner of your past.
Learn the skills necessary to improve your physical and mental health with practical strategies taken from the most effective therapeutic methods, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and somatic psychology. When appropriately addressed, the wounds of your past no longer need to interfere with your ability to live a meaningful and satisfying life.
This book includes:
- Understand C-PTSD―Get an in-depth explanation of complex PTSD, including its symptoms, its treatment through various therapies, and more.
- Address the symptoms―Discover evidence-based strategies for healing the symptoms of complex PTSD, like avoidance, depression, emotional dysregulation, and hopelessness.
- Real stories―Relate to others’ experiences with complex PTSD with multiple real-life examples included in each chapter.
Start letting go of the pain from your past―A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD can help show you how.
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From the Publisher
Let the healing process begin by:
Get an in-depth explanation of complex PTSD, including its symptoms, its treatment through various therapies, and more.
Addressing the Symptoms
Discover evidence-based strategies for healing the symptoms of complex PTSD, like avoidance, depression, emotional dysregulation, and hopelessness.
Hearing Real Stories
Relate to others’ experiences with complex PTSD with multiple real-life examples included in each chapter.
“Schwartz’s clear, gentle, trauma-informed guide provides detailed instructions, examples, and exercises on how to begin to heal chronic physical and mental health conditions. Schwartz normalizes complex PTSD symptoms and emphasizes why it’s not your fault. An encouraging, empowering set of how-tos that will change lives for those struggling with symptoms as well as for their therapists and other health care professionals.” ―Veronique Mead, MD, MA, Somatic Trauma Therapist, Founder, Chronic Illness Trauma Studies
“Dr. Arielle Schwartz has created a profound resource for healing from complex trauma. With compassion, care, and wisdom, Dr. Schwartz guides the reader to both understand how their psyche and body has been affected by trauma, and also how to gently move toward growth. A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD is an extraordinary addition to anyone's healing toolbox. I highly recommend this important book.” ―Andrea M. Kolber, MA, LPC, NCC
“A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD provides effective strategies to attend to the painful wounds of the past so we can live more fully in the present. Using real and relatable examples from her psychotherapy practice, Arielle Schwartz takes an in-depth and compassionate look at C-PTSD and helps readers make sense of their symptoms and the modalities used to treat them. I will recommend this book to my clients for support in between therapy sessions.” ―Bree Bonchay, LCSW
“Rarely does a book address the origins, symptoms, and interventions for PTSD with both brevity and empirical depth, but A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD manages this feat. I heartily recommend this clinical resource to anyone practicing psychotherapy or who has symptoms of unresolved trauma.” ―Jeremy Fox, LPC, EMDR International Association Consultant
About the Author
Arielle Schwartz, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, EMDR therapy consultant, certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and author. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Fielding Graduate University and her master’s degree in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University. She lives and runs a private practice in Boulder, Colorado.
- Publisher : Rockridge Press (May 12, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 190 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1646116143
- ISBN-13 : 978-1646116140
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #50,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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*Free ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
This book helped me to become more aware. Aware of my past and where some of my thoughts, emotions, and pain stem from. It helped me to see patterns and cycles that once protected me, that I can now work on letting go of. I related to many of the stories that were shared within. (I'll touch more on those experiences later.) Whether you were a witness to C-PTSD, a survivor, or both, this is a good BEGINNER introductory. Keyword beginner!
Survivors of SEVERE physical and sexual abuse may not substantially benefit from this title. The MAIN focus was more on emotionally abusive and neglectful parents, although, there was a REALLY good excerpt shared on unwanted physical contact that I quote later in the review. It impacted me in a big way so I wanted to share it.
PRACTICAL is the word I would use to describe this guide. It would be best utilized alongside a therapist but gives helpful insight. If you are unable to see a therapist, this book is a great one to start recognizing the signs and symptoms of C-PTSD in yourself or others. The text says if the provided exercises help, to keep practicing them, but if they are triggering, to look for professional help. The author conveys compassion, kindness, and empathy for her readers and clients. I got a good feel from her writing.
I found 3 new, simple techniques to use during times of distress. When triggered, here are the new coping strategies for me to try:
• Look at a piece of art or a plant and notice how it feels to move the eyes and neck. (EDMR) I'm going to get a little potted plant for the living room (where all of the tougher conversations happen, that way I am prepared).
• Lovingly touch one arm with the other arm, notice the warmth coming from your hand, switch sides when ready. When stressed I freeze, clench, or tremble; this will help me stay mindful of keeping my hands and body at ease.
• Focus on feet and legs during intense emotions. This is important for me because I eject or detach from my body during times of emotional chaos, sometimes even when I eat. I have to remain conscious, check-in with my body, and use affirmations mentally to stay present with myself during these times.
I like the variety of case studies shared, shining light on various scenarios of abuse/neglect, and also enjoyed the exercises to start healing from them. While I liked the real-life stories, I thought they would have been better labeled as case study numbers, or in some other fashion other than people's names. I understand names were most likely changed for privacy reasons, but this felt a tad insensitive.
I found this bit of information extremely important and relatable:
When a child spends an extended period of time in "faint response" (defensive mode from trauma which includes feelings of helplessness, fatigue, and eventual collapse) feelings of heaviness, sluggishness and tiredness persist into adulthood. This is where disease, chronic illness, and symptoms come into play.
A great excerpt from the C-PTSD Guide, for survivors of sexual abuse:
"Recognize that the body is biologically wired to respond to contact, even during abusive situations."
"A physical response of arousal does not equate with consent and is not an invitation for sexual touch."
If you've never heard or read that statement before, it can be life-changing!
Whenever I related to particular case studies, I noticed my breathing getting shallow, my chest getting tight, circulation in my hands and feet got very cold, and I wanted to speed read past these parts. I took some deep breaths and practiced the exercises and affirmations. It also helped to take a break from the material when I needed it. Taking a break in nature and being gentle with myself while working on my healing journey also helped me to stay connected and away from dissociating. I loved that this book kept suggesting if a particular area of text was triggering, to take that section of the book to a therapist to discuss it.
If you have feelings of guilt, shame, self-hatred, emotional dysregulation, or other negative feelings, reading this may give you some insight as to how to start the healing journey. It won't eliminate your past but it can show you tools and exercises to help one learn how to start surrendering some of the pain. The author uses these same exercises in her own private psychology practice. If you have a chronic illness or unexplainable chronic symptoms, struggle with OCD, or perfectionism, this book may have valuable information for you. Healing from the past is an ongoing process that anyone can start when they are ready. This guide states very clearly books are not a replacement for therapy, but best used in conjunction with.
Much gratitude to publisher Rockridge Press, compliments of Callisto Media, for the early copy I received. I was under no obligation to write a review, my honest opinion is freely given.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 27, 2020