DBT to treat Trauma and C-PTSD

Trauma and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorders are prevalent in those with Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder. Quite often, a person who has been diagnosed with EUPD as an adult has experienced an unstable childhood during this time; changes took place in the brain, which puts the person in an almost constant state of ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode.

However, it is important to recognise that trauma and C-PTSD can develop at any time in a person’s life. Somebody who has had a stable childhood and has no mental health issues or related history can experience a traumatic or stressful event.

These events can then cause changes in the adult brain and result in the common symptoms of trauma and C-PTSD.

What are the signs of Trauma and PTSD?
After experiencing a traumatic event, many people experience strong physical or emotional reactions.

Over a few days or weeks, most people’s feelings dissipate. For some individuals, however, the symptoms of psychological trauma may grow more severe and last longer.

A traumatic event may result in this and existing emotional support, past and present stresses, personal traits, and available coping mechanisms. Symptoms of trauma include:

  • Having intrusive thoughts of the event
  • Nightmares
  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Visual images of the event
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Not enjoying activities any longer
  • Being easily startled
  • Fatigue
  • Tachycardia
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Changes to sleeping patterns
  • Changes to eating habits
  • Increased alertness
  • Obsessive behaviours
  • Emotional numbing
  • Depersonalisation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Detachment from others

The list above is not exclusive; there are many other signs of physical, mental, and emotional trauma.

Children and adults who have repeatedly experienced traumatic events, such as violence, neglect or abuse, may develop complex PTSD.

C-PTSD is more challenging to treat if any of the following apply:

  1. The traumatic experience occurred in early childhood
  2. The trauma was due to the actions of a parent or carer
  3. The person was trapped in traumatic experiences for an extended period
  4. The person was alone during the trauma
  5. The person is still in contact with the person who caused the trauma

As in PTSD, complex PTSD can include the following symptoms:

  • Feeling ashamed or guilty
  • Inability to control emotions
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Dissociation
  • Headaches, dizziness, chest pains
  • Isolating self
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts

How DBT helps those with Trauma and C-PTSD
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is one of the most effective treatment options for those with trauma or C-PTSD.

DBT was initially developed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). Although people with PTSD and BPD have different symptoms, they share some of the same issues, such as:

  • Emotional difficulties
  • Problems with interpersonal relationships
  • High risk for impulsive behaviour

DBT aims to correct emotional management problems as well as problem behaviours that they cause. DBT therapists use and teach the following four types of skills:

  • Meditation skills that promote mindfulness
  • Effective interpersonal skills
  • Distress tolerance skills
  • Emotional regulation skills

If I can’t trust others, can I get DBT treatment?

It is often difficult for people with complex PTSD to trust other people. You may be offered more therapy sessions than usual so that you can develop a trusting relationship with your therapist.

In DBT, we go at a comfortable pace and form relationships with clients based on trust, no matter how long this process takes.

Is DBT good for trauma?

Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other traumas can be effective with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT can be even more effective when explicitly adapted to treat PTSD.

Is complex PTSD hard to treat?

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder can be treated despite its inherent barriers to recovery. Someone can overcome their all-too-familiar barriers and triggers with the help of a compassionate guide.

You can get help through DBT Programmes

Asking for help is the first step toward living a more fulfilling life. While trauma and C-PTSD take much longer to treat than other issues, they are treatable.

Our complete DBT programme is available for anybody who finds their trauma or PTSD debilitating.

Whether you have been diagnosed or suspect you need help, contact us today to discuss DBT treatment options.



Start off with a call where you can ask any questions, find out more about what we have on offer, and book in your initial assessment.



Use the online booking system below or call our team who will find a time that suits you, for an online hour long assessment via Zoom or Vsee. Same week appointments available.

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    0203 432 5909




    Suite 788

    Unit 3A

    34-35 Hatton Garden



    EC1N 8DX