Contact Dr Robert Dawborn

Complex PTSD Treatment

Introduction to complex PTSD treatment

I am experienced in the treatment of borderline personality disorder and complex PTSD. These related conditions are special interests of mine.

If you have been diagnosed with complex PTSD you may have symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, you may suffer from traumatic memories including flashbacks, dissociative experiences, suicidal ideation and impulsive self-harm. You may have survived long-term emotional abuse or neglect in childhood. You may have had one or more mental health admissions.

Another group of people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder have a presentation and childhood history very similar to that of complex PTSD. For this reason, these people are also often diagnosed with complex PTSD.

Two psychological therapies, The Conversational Model and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) are effective in the treatment of Borderline Personality. There are good prospective studies providing evidence of this.

You may belong to other groups of people who have suffered sustained trauma over months or years. These groups include combat veterans, police and ambulance personnel, refugees, sex workers and victims of domestic violence.

My training in contemporary psychoanalytic self-psychology including The Conversational Model has made me well-equipped in the treatment and psychotherapy of complex PTSD.

Complex PTSD Treatment Approach – traumatic memories & flashbacks

People with complex PTSD often present with suicidal ideation or multiple episodes of self-harm including hospitalisation. For this reason, if you have been diagnosed with complex PTSD or Borderline Personality Disorder, you may benefit from a shared care approach. This means a team approach to your treatment may be effective. A number of medical professionals will take on specific roles including medical, psychiatric, medication management and psychotherapy.

However not all patients require this type of intensive and supportive approach.. You may do well simply with your GP and psychotherapist coordinating your treatment with you.

I have described many aspects of the treatment approach on this website under the heading Personal Psychotherapy. In the kind of psychotherapy I use, we will practice using empathy and introspection as well as interoception. This means we will be paying close attention to both mind and body including emotions (mindfulness).

In addition to shared care, we will spend time and pay careful attention to ‘setting the frame’ of psychotherapy in order to provide a setting and framework of safety and reliability.

We will discuss how psychotherapy for complex PTSD works. In addition I will provide psycho-education about a whole range of mental health topics and tools. This will include explanations of traumatic memories including flashbacks and dissociative experiences. A most important element of any psychotherapy based on empathy and introspection is that you are free to talk about whatever concerns you and whatever is on your mind.

Duration and frequency of treatment for complex PTSD

As complex PTSD is a severe long-term condition often beginning in childhood, you will most likely benefit from more intensive psychotherapy than is needed for milder conditions. You will benefit from attending psychotherapy more frequently and for a longer duration. You may come to appointments as often as twice a week and for a year or longer.


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Dr Robert Dawborn - Medical Psychotherapist
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