I have Complex PTSD [Cptsd] and wrote this book from the perspective of someone who has experienced a great reduction of symptoms over the years. I also wrote it from the viewpoint of someone who has discovered many silver linings in the long, windy, bumpy road of recovering from Cptsd. I felt encouraged to write this book because of thousands of e-mail responses to the articles on my website that repeatedly expressed gratitude for the helpfulness of my work. An often echoed comment sounded like this: At last someone gets it. I can see now that I am not bad, defective or crazy...or alone! The causes of Cptsd range from severe neglect to monstrous abuse. Many survivors grow up in houses that are not homes - in families that are as loveless as orphanages and sometimes as dangerous. If you felt unwanted, unliked, rejected, hated and/or despised for a lengthy portion of your childhood, trauma may be deeply engrained in your mind, soul and body. This book is a practical, user-friendly self-help guide to recovering from the lingering effects of childhood trauma, and to achieving a rich and fulfilling life. It is copiously illustrated with examples of my own and my clients' journeys of recovering. This book is also for those who do not have Cptsd but want to understand and help a loved one who does. This book also contains an overview of the tasks of recovering and a great many practical tools and techniques for recovering from childhood trauma. It extensively elaborates on all the recovery concepts explained on my website, and many more. However, unlike the articles on my website, it is oriented toward the layperson. As such, much of the psychological jargon and dense concentration of concepts in the website articles has been replaced with expanded and easier to follow explanations. Moreover, many principles that were only sketched out in the articles are explained in much greater detail. A great deal of new material is also explored. Key concepts of the book include managing emotional flashbacks, understanding the four different types of trauma survivors, differentiating the outer critic from the inner critic, healing the abandonment depression that come from emotional abandonment and self-abandonment, self-reparenting and reparenting by committee, and deconstructing the hierarchy of self-injuring responses that childhood trauma forces survivors to adopt. The book also functions as a map to help you understand the somewhat linear progression of recovery, to help you identify what you have already accomplished, and to help you figure out what is best to work on and prioritize now. This in turn also serves to help you identify the signs of your recovery and to develop reasonable expectations about the rate of your recovery. I hope this map will guide you to heal in a way that helps you to become an unflinching source of kindness and self-compassion for yourself, and that out of that journey you will find at least one other human being who will reciprocally love you well enough in that way.
Pete Walker is a licensed Marriage and Family psychotherapist with degrees in Social Work and Counseling Psychology. He has been working as a counselor, lecturer, writer and group leader for thirty five years; and as a trainer, supervisor and consultant of other therapists for 20 years. Pete lives and luxuriates in family life with his wife and nine year old son in the San Francisco Bay Area. He enjoys his art work, gardening, hiking, and reading to his son. Pete also holds certificates in supervision from The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and from The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley. Pete is a "general practitioner" who specializes in helping adults recovering from growing up in traumatizing families, especially those whose repeated exposure to childhood abuse and/or neglect left them with symptoms of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [Cptsd]. He has a great deal of recovery from his own Cptsd, and his professional approach is highly enriched by his own 40 year journey of recovering. Pete's articles on a multimodal approach to treating Cptsd have been published in a number of therapy magazines and websites. His therapeutic approach is eclectic and Relational [Intersubjective]. He guides the therapeutic process with values that include empathy, vulnerability, authenticity and mutuality. Pete's first book The Tao of Fully Feeling: Harvesting Forgiveness Out Of Blame, is also available through Amazon, has been acclaimed by many therapists, recovery websites and clients as a powerful, compassionate and pragmatic tool for guiding recovery.