3 Stages Of Complex PTSD Treatment: Stabilisation, Therapy And Reintegration.



What is the best complex PTSD treatment?

The NHS (UK) recommends that those suffering from complex PTSD undergo three stages of treatment. These are as follows :




Let’s look at each of these a little more closely :


NHS guidelines suggest that during the first stage, stabilizationthe individual being treated for complex PTSD may wish to focus on:

– redeveloping an ability to trust others

– reestablishing an emotional connection with friends and family

– learning to live in the present again (as opposed to staying trapped in the past ). This normally involves learning to feel safe again and reducing the level of fear that traumatic memories have hitherto provoked (often manifested in the disturbing form of nightmares and flashbacks).

The aim of this first stage of treatment is to improve the individual’s level of functioning to the point whereby s/he is able to start functioning again on a daily basis, no longer paralyzed by anxiety.


These include :

  • trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing

(The importance of engaging with an appropriately trained and experienced professional if considering these treatments is emphasized.)


  • i.e. reintegration into society and the development of improved, more trusting relationships with others (one of the hallmarks of complex PTSD is to avoid others and self-isolate, leading to a vicious cycle driven by operant conditioning and loss of confidence).

What About Medication?

In cases whereby psychotherapy is not helpful or appropriate, the NHS (UK) suggests that antidepressants may be of benefit to some individuals.

N.B. Always consult a suitably qualified professional before taking antidepressants or other psychiatric medication.


For those who would like extremely detailed information relating to ISTSS ‘s guidelines for the prevention and treatment of complex PTSD, it is possible to download the relevant PDF from this here.

The main NHS (UK) website can be found by clicking here.



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