Complex PTSD: What’s Lurking Beneath the Surface – HPP 04

Arielle Schwartz

Trauma theories and therapies have been gaining a lot of attention in our field in the last decade. It’s really for a good reason. Neuroscience and the advancement of somatic therapies have unlocked new ways of working with trauma that were very difficult to treat.

We’re going to discuss Complex PTSD and how it differs from what typically comes to mind when we think of trauma. Complex PTSD is often interpersonal trauma that happened over a period of time during early childhood. Even within this definition there are degrees of how severely a person is traumatized and many people walking down the street, whether it’s you or me, may have a degree of Complex PTSD that we are attempting to overcome in ourselves.

We will explore what’s happening in the brain when we can’t process an overwhelming event, why it’s important to distinguish between the different forms of trauma, and also differential diagnosis between others disorders.

A major piece to healing complex PTSD comes from understanding post-traumatic growth models, and how resiliency and wisdom often rise from the places that were so difficult in our past.

Dr. Arielle Schwartz is an EMDR Therapy consultant and the author of The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Emotional Control and Becoming Whole. She has spent nearly two decades researching and understanding the workings of trauma and how to heal.

Show Notes:

Why does one person experience trauma during an event and others don’t [13:54]

What’s happening in our brain when we can’t process an overwhelming event [17:06]

How is Complex PTSD different from other forms of trauma [20:27]

Differential diagnosis between Complex PTSD and others disorders [26:45]

The evolutionary purpose of dissociation and how to overcome it [30:47]

The interplay between traumatic histories and relationship issues [37:08]

Arielle Schwartz

Arielle Schwartz, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist, EMDR Therapy consultant, and certified yoga instructor with a private practice in Boulder, Colorado. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Fielding Graduate University and holds a Master’s degree in Somatic Psychology through Naropa University. She is the author of The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Emotional Control and Becoming Whole. She is a core teacher with The Maiberger Institute offering EMDRIA approved Advanced Workshops on topics of EMDR Therapy, Somatic Psychology Attachment trauma, and Chronic Pain. She provides consultation and education to EMDR therapists from around the country. Her psychotherapy practice specializes in PTSD, Complex PTSD, grief and loss, resilience, and therapeutic yoga. She is dedicated to offering informational mental health and wellness updates through her writing, public speaking, social media presence, and blog. You can find more information at: