Introduction to Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


The recent publication of ICD-11 includes two related disorders following exposure to traumatic stress. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD) are presented under the parent category of ‘disorders specifically associated with stress’. ICD-11 PTSD includes three symptom clusters that describe reactions to traumatic stimuli: re-experiencing in the here and now, avoidance of threat-related stimuli, and a sense of current threat. CPTSD is a broader diagnosis that includes the three PTSD symptom clusters plus an additional three symptom clusters (i.e., affect dysregulation, negative self-concept, and disturbances in relationships) that are collectively referred to as ‘disturbances in self-organisation’ (DSO). In this talk, an overview of the evidence base regarding the assessment and treatment of CPTSD will be presented. Finally, directions for future research will be presented.

Workshop speaker

Professor Thanos Karatzias, is the Head of Research in the School of Health & Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University, UK and Clinical & Health Psychologist at the Rivers Centre for Traumatic Stress, Edinburgh, UK. He is the former Chair of the British Psychological Society Scotland Working Party for Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse (BPSSS) and he was a member of the Committee of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Crisis, Disaster & Trauma Section. He has spent his entire clinical and academic career working in the field of psychological trauma, particularly on interpersonal psychological trauma. In collaboration with national and international research partners he has developed a special interest in the effects and treatment of psychological trauma on physical and mental health; on general, prison and veteran populations as well as on people with learning disabilities. The last few years he works in the area of Complex PTSD and its treatment, a new condition in the recently published ICD-11. Prof. Karatzias, has published widely in these areas.