top of page

The c-PTSD at Work Landscape  - A3 Poster - 

The c-PTSD at Work Landscape (1).png
cpstd at work.jpg

Work in Progress: Last updated Feb 2024

The c-PTSD at Work Landscape

c-PTSD at Work: An Overview

The lingering effects of stress can mark the brain and body the way a stroke leaves a lesion on the brain. Often, the person is unaware that their entire reality is now distorted, because their brain and body is dysregulated.

What they believe is ‘just life’ is in fact the result of their stress altered physiology. Thought or mindset alone is futile in changing physiology, leaving many in the workforce as Highly Functioning, Secretly in Despair.

Doctors & Psychiatrists

Therapists

& Psychologists

Holistic & Alternative Practitioners

Coaches

Charities, Assoc., Support Groups, &

Psycho Education

Researchers

& Data Scientists

Consultancies, Advisory, Training for Organisations

Trauma-Informed

Workplaces

Apps &

Online Platforms

Devices, Wearables, Biometrics

CyberSecurity, &

Data Protection

Architecture &

Engineering

Medium Article - Images 700 x 700 (8).png

2 Children, Age 5

Interesting Stats!

30% of the workforce is Highly Functioning, Secretly-in-Despair

50% of overachievers are sprinting those mountains to outrun a past that is leading the way

80% of entrepreneurs have at least one mental health condition

c-PTSD at Work Looks Like:

The problems today are years old, work is the addiction to hide in:

 

  • Fear of Being Seen

  • Toxic Leadership

  • Chaotic relationship with money

  • Doing the jobs of 3 people

  • Over reactions to seemingly normal situations

  • Glossing over details that has severe consequences

  • Self-Isolating behaviour

 

  • Sunday Night Anxiety

  • Difficult Performance Reviews

  • Resenting Clients, Colleagues and Job

  • Apathy as you punch in, punch out

  • Work is having to compensate for 6 other areas of life vacant and neglected

  • Addictions, some of which you keep secret

  • Endlessly distracting and avoiding

Glossary of Terms

There are 5 unique sections in this c-PTSD focused Glossary that speak to a series of terms used in the Mental Health field.

1. Brain Terminology,

2. Neurological Responses,

3. Psychological Concepts,

4. Symptoms divided over two sections (because there are so many.)

5. Trauma related terms. 

 

Each of the sections has a top row full of clickable 'tabs'.  For example, the first section is Brain Terminology, It has 8 clickable tabs for each of the 8 key terms. Each term is simply explained in relation to c-PTSD. 

Brain Terminology

Hippocampus and c-PTSD

The "Hippocampus" is a key component of the brain, playing a vital role in memory formation, spatial navigation, and emotional regulation.

 

This seahorse-shaped structure is nestled deep within the brain's temporal lobe and is crucial for converting short-term memories into long-term ones, as well as for helping us understand and navigate the world around us and plan for our future.

Here's how it works in simple terms:

  1. Memory Processing Powerhouse: The hippocampus is central to learning and memory. It acts like a sorting center, deciding which memories are stored and where they're kept in the brain. This is crucial for building a continuous narrative of our experiences and knowledge.

  2. Navigator-in-Chief: Beyond memory, the hippocampus helps us navigate our environment. It's involved in spatial memory, which means it helps us understand and remember the layout of places, enabling us to move through space and find our way.

  3. Emotional Regulator: The hippocampus also plays a role in regulating our emotions. It works closely with the amygdala, another part of the brain involved in emotional response, to process and interpret emotional experiences and contexts.

  4. Impact of C-PTSD: In individuals with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which arises from prolonged exposure to traumatic events, the hippocampus can be significantly affected. Research has shown that chronic stress and repeated trauma can lead to a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus. This shrinkage can impair memory function, affect the ability to regulate emotions, and increase susceptibility to conditions like anxiety and depression.

  5. Memory and Trauma: For those with C-PTSD, the hippocampus's role in memory processing can be altered. Memories of trauma may not be processed or integrated properly, leading to intrusive memories, flashbacks, and difficulties in forming a coherent narrative of past events. This can significantly impact one's sense of self and perception of safety.

  6. Recovery and Resilience: Despite these challenges, the hippocampus has a remarkable capacity for neuroplasticity, meaning it can adapt and change in response to new experiences and learning. Therapeutic interventions, such as trauma-informed therapy and certain medications, can support the hippocampus's recovery, helping to mitigate the effects of C-PTSD on memory and emotional regulation.

Neurological Responses

Nervous System and c-PTSD

The human nervous system, including the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, is designed to respond to threats by activating survival responses: fight, flight, freeze, and appease. In C-PTSD, these survival modes can become dysregulated, leading to a state where the nervous system is constantly, or very frequently, in survival mode.

Here's how it works in simple terms:

  1. Chronic Activation of Survival Responses: Individuals with C-PTSD may find their nervous system locked in a state of hyperarousal or hypoarousal, corresponding to the sympathetic nervous system's fight or flight responses and the parasympathetic nervous system's freeze or appease responses, respectively. This chronic activation is a direct consequence of the nervous system's attempt to protect the individual from perceived threats, even when those threats are no longer present.

  2. Impact on Physical and Mental Health: The constant state of alertness or shutdown affects not just emotional well-being but also physical health. Symptoms can include anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, digestive issues, and a heightened startle response. Over time, this can lead to more serious health issues, including cardiovascular problems, immune system suppression, and chronic pain conditions.

  3. Dysregulation of the Autonomic Nervous System: C-PTSD leads to a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, and digestion. This dysregulation can manifest as difficulty regulating emotions, challenges in returning to a state of calm after stress, and an overall sense of being physically and emotionally out of balance.

  4. Social Engagement System: The nervous system's survival mode can impair the social engagement system, a part of the parasympathetic nervous system that supports calm states and social interaction. Individuals with C-PTSD may struggle with feeling safe in social situations, interpreting social cues, and forming and maintaining relationships.

  5. Healing and Regulation: Recovery involves helping the nervous system exit survival mode and return to a regulated state where fight, flight, freeze, and appease responses are appropriately activated in response to real, immediate threats, not constantly engaged. This can be achieved through therapies that focus on nervous system regulation, such as Somatic Experiencing, Polyvagal Theory-based interventions, mindfulness practices, and trauma-informed yoga.

  6. Building Safety and Resilience: Creating a sense of safety is critical for individuals with C-PTSD to help their nervous system recalibrate. This involves both internal strategies, such as grounding and self-soothing techniques, and external strategies, such as establishing safe, supportive relationships and environments.

  7. Integrating Mind and Body Approaches: Addressing the nervous system's role in C-PTSD requires an integrated approach that considers both mind and body. Psychotherapy can help process and integrate traumatic memories, while body-centered therapies can directly address the nervous system's dysregulation, supporting a more holistic recovery process.

Psychological Concepts

Bottom Up Therapy and c-PTSD

"Bottom-Up Therapy and C-PTSD" focuses on the therapeutic approach that emphasizes the body's role in processing and healing from trauma, particularly relevant for individuals with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). Unlike traditional "top-down" therapies that engage the cognitive aspects of the brain first (such as talk therapy), bottom-up therapies start with the body, aiming to regulate the nervous system and address stored trauma responses before engaging cognitive processes. This approach is especially effective for C-PTSD, which involves both psychological and physiological dysregulation due to prolonged exposure to traumatic events.

Here's how it works in simple terms:

  1. Addressing Physiological Dysregulation: Bottom-up therapy begins with the premise that trauma is stored in the body and manifests as physical symptoms and dysregulated nervous system responses. For individuals with C-PTSD, this approach helps by first calming the body's heightened stress response, laying a foundation for emotional and cognitive healing.

  2. Somatic Experiencing: One of the key bottom-up approaches, Somatic Experiencing, developed by Peter Levine, focuses on the bodily sensations associated with trauma. Through guided attention to bodily sensations, individuals learn to release pent-up trauma energy, gradually moving towards greater regulation and healing of the nervous system.

  3. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: This therapy integrates somatic and cognitive approaches, focusing on the body's sensorimotor responses to trauma. By bringing awareness to bodily sensations and movements associated with traumatic memories, individuals with C-PTSD can begin to process and integrate these experiences differently.

  4. Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Stephen Porges' Polyvagal Theory informs several bottom-up therapeutic practices by focusing on the role of the vagus nerve in trauma response. Therapies based on this theory aim to enhance social engagement and safety signals through the nervous system, crucial for individuals with C-PTSD struggling with feelings of isolation and danger.

  5. Trauma-Informed Yoga and Mindfulness: These practices can serve as effective bottom-up approaches by helping individuals reconnect with their bodies in a safe, controlled manner. Yoga and mindfulness can increase bodily awareness and present-moment living, essential for overcoming dissociation and hyperarousal symptoms of C-PTSD.

  6. Building Resilience: Bottom-up therapies contribute to building resilience by enhancing individuals' capacity to regulate their emotions and responses to stress. This increased resilience can lead to significant improvements in daily functioning and overall well-being for those with C-PTSD.

  7. Integration with Cognitive Approaches: While bottom-up therapies focus on the body's role in trauma recovery, they are often most effective when integrated with top-down cognitive and emotional therapies. This comprehensive approach ensures that healing addresses both the physiological and psychological aspects of C-PTSD.

Symptoms A-D

Bottom Up Therapy and c-PTSD

"Bottom-Up Therapy and C-PTSD" focuses on the therapeutic approach that emphasizes the body's role in processing and healing from trauma, particularly relevant for individuals with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). Unlike traditional "top-down" therapies that engage the cognitive aspects of the brain first (such as talk therapy), bottom-up therapies start with the body, aiming to regulate the nervous system and address stored trauma responses before engaging cognitive processes. This approach is especially effective for C-PTSD, which involves both psychological and physiological dysregulation due to prolonged exposure to traumatic events.

Here's how it works in simple terms:

  1. Addressing Physiological Dysregulation: Bottom-up therapy begins with the premise that trauma is stored in the body and manifests as physical symptoms and dysregulated nervous system responses. For individuals with C-PTSD, this approach helps by first calming the body's heightened stress response, laying a foundation for emotional and cognitive healing.

  2. Somatic Experiencing: One of the key bottom-up approaches, Somatic Experiencing, developed by Peter Levine, focuses on the bodily sensations associated with trauma. Through guided attention to bodily sensations, individuals learn to release pent-up trauma energy, gradually moving towards greater regulation and healing of the nervous system.

  3. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: This therapy integrates somatic and cognitive approaches, focusing on the body's sensorimotor responses to trauma. By bringing awareness to bodily sensations and movements associated with traumatic memories, individuals with C-PTSD can begin to process and integrate these experiences differently.

  4. Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Stephen Porges' Polyvagal Theory informs several bottom-up therapeutic practices by focusing on the role of the vagus nerve in trauma response. Therapies based on this theory aim to enhance social engagement and safety signals through the nervous system, crucial for individuals with C-PTSD struggling with feelings of isolation and danger.

  5. Trauma-Informed Yoga and Mindfulness: These practices can serve as effective bottom-up approaches by helping individuals reconnect with their bodies in a safe, controlled manner. Yoga and mindfulness can increase bodily awareness and present-moment living, essential for overcoming dissociation and hyperarousal symptoms of C-PTSD.

  6. Building Resilience: Bottom-up therapies contribute to building resilience by enhancing individuals' capacity to regulate their emotions and responses to stress. This increased resilience can lead to significant improvements in daily functioning and overall well-being for those with C-PTSD.

  7. Integration with Cognitive Approaches: While bottom-up therapies focus on the body's role in trauma recovery, they are often most effective when integrated with top-down cognitive and emotional therapies. This comprehensive approach ensures that healing addresses both the physiological and psychological aspects of C-PTSD.

bottom of page