Introduction To Complex Trauma


In this episode, Tim Fletcher describes many of the physical symptoms you may be experiencing and explains that they are based in Complex Trauma. Research is showing that 90% of addicts have experienced complex trauma.

These symptoms include:

Relationship difficulties, low-self esteem, stress, depression type issues, ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), anxiety disorders, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Attachment Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Phobias, Juvenile Delinquency.

Trauma is where a person is in a place where they perceive that they are in danger and unable to prevent getting hurt. There are two different types of trauma:

1) Simple trauma ( a one-time event) as opposed to
2) Complex Trauma.

This is where a person is in a trauma-based situation where they don't feel safe as an ongoing or extended basis.

The key piece to complex trauma is that the person feels that they can never relax and have to remain on guard all the time.

Most of the effects of trauma happen at a subconscious level. Therapy is essential to bring these feelings to the conscious level and the help you work through it.

Complex trauma can be experienced in four different ways: 1) coming from an abusive family or experiencing sexual abuse 2) bullying at school or at home 3) neglect, emotionally unavailable parents, including divorce, death of a parent, 4) if your physical and or emotional needs were not met. Not being respected or valued, not being accepted by parents for who you are, not feeling like you belong or not feeling safe.

Our responses to trauma are finding ways of coping, most notable to prevent ourselves from getting hurt and getting our needs met. The coping methods of trauma are fight, flight, freeze or fawn ( to please others). This is where the dependence on substances usually begins.

Complex Truma


Vaughan Pankhurst

Private Counsellor in Cape Town


083 415 7804


Take the first step on your path to recovery and I will safely guide you the rest of your way.



I operate a private practice based in Cape Town directly tailored to your needs in overcoming past trauma and the many associated behaviours such as substance addictions, depression, anxiety and chronic stress.


"Don’t ask why the addiction - ask why the pain?”. Gabor Mate MD


Please feel free to get in touch with me on 083 415 7804 for a free telephonic assessment.


Video Guide To Complex Trauma


Complex Truma