Abreaction – The discharge of emotion involved in recalling an event that has been repressed because it was consciously intolerable. https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-abreaction-1065382

Acting out – Originally an analytic term referring to the expression of unconscious feelings about a therapist or other authority figures.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/traversing-the-inner-terrain/201204/acting-out

Affect. – “A pattern of observable behaviors that is the expression of a subjectively experienced feeling state (emotion). https://dictionary.apa.org/affect

Anniversary reaction. –  The experience of reacting with feelings or behavior on the “anniversary” of a previous event. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/anniversary_reactions.asp

Amygdala – The Amygdala is a small region of the brain which plays a key role in emotional regulation, emotional memory, and responses to emotional stimuli. https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/amygdala.htm

Attachment – The term “attachment” refers to a lasting, emotional/psychological bond that is forged between people. https://www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html

Body Memory – The term refers to body sensations that symbolically or literally captures some aspect of the trauma. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/body-memories-grounding-in-sexual-trauma-therapy-0329175

Boundaries – guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe, and permissible ways for other people to behave around them and how they will respond when someone steps outside those limits. http://www.guidetopsychology.com/boundaries.htm

Childhood Abuse and Neglect – Childhood abuse and neglect refer to emotional/sexual abuse/physical abuse perpetrated when a person is a child or teen. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/whatiscan/

Codependency – a relationship in which an otherwise mentally healthy person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected by an addiction or mental illness. https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/co-dependency

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – a structured form of therapy based on the belief that thoughts – not outside circumstances – control our feelings and behaviors and that our feelings and behaviors are consequently under our own control https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder –  a psychological injury that results from prolonged exposure to social or interpersonal trauma, disempowerment, captivity, or entrapment, with lack or loss of a viable escape route for the victim. https://cptsdfoundation.org/2018/11/15/complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-cptsd-and-adverse-childhood-experiences/

Countertransference – A therapist’s conscious or unconscious emotional reactions to a client. It is a therapist’s job to monitor his or her reactions to a client and to minimize their impact on the therapeutic relationship and treatment. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/countertransference

Cortisol – Cortisol is a stress hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands and converts protein into energy. When a person feels unsafe or threatened in some manner, the amygdala signals the endocrine system which releases cortisol and causes an increased heart rate and a rise in blood pressure arises in preparation for a defensive response such as fight or fright. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

Denial – the practice of believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen. https://www.simplypsychology.org/defense-mechanisms.html

Dependency – An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/dependency

Depersonalization/Derealization – This is one of a number of symptoms of CPTSD and is a form of dissociation in which a person feels as though they are not real, that they are disconnected from themselves, and are somewhat distant or detached from what is happening to them. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depersonalization-derealization-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352911

Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT is a psychosocial treatment developed for patients with borderline personality disorder which combines intensive individual and group therapy. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/dialectical-behavior-therapy

Dissociation– Dissociation is a central feature of Complex PTSD in which one or more parts of the person’s psyche becomes fixated on avoiding and/or defending the self from the painful emotions of re-experiencing the trauma. https://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/PDF/TF-%20CBT/pages/7%20Trauma%20Focused%20CBT/Dissociation-Information.pdf

Dopamine – dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Increased levels of the neurotransmitters – serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine – has been found to reduce depression. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dopamine

Dual Diagnosis – This refers to the co-existence of a mental disorder and substance abuse disorder. https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/related-conditions/dual-diagnosis

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a psychological technique sometimes used in the treatment of post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/

Emotional Abuse – Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt. https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-mental-abuse

Emotional Flashbacks – Emotional flashbacks (EFs) are one of the most common symptoms of CPTSD and involve mild to intense feeling states that were felt in past trauma and are layered over present-day situations. http://www.petewalker.com/pdf/emotionalFlashbackManagement.pdf

Enabling  – a pattern of behavior, often adopted by abuse victims, which seeks to avoid confrontation and conflict by absorbing the abuse without challenging it or setting boundaries. https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/kala/enabling-fact-sheet

Family of Choice (FOC) – The family a person chooses to be with.

Family of Origin (FOO) – The family that a person was born or raised in.

Fawn Response – As described by Walker, the Fawn response is one of four defensive reactions to ongoing trauma.Those who fawn tend to put the needs and wants of others ahead of themselves at the cost of the health of their own egos, and the protection of and compassion for themselves. http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

Fear of Abandonment – An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded, or replaced. https://www.healthline.com/health/fear-of-abandonment

Fight Response – As described by Walker,  the Fight response is one of four defensive reactions to ongoing trauma.  Those with Complex PTSD who have a fight response tend to react when triggered with anger and contempt. http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

Flight Response – As described by Walker, the Flight response is one of four defensive reactions to ongoing trauma.  Those with Complex PTSD who engage in a flight response try to move away from and distract themselves from their feelings. http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

Freeze Response – As described by Walker (n.d.), the Freeze response is one of four defensive reactions to ongoing trauma.  Those with Complex PTSD who use a freeze response often Isolate themselves from others, and to dissociate or distance themselves from their pain and fear. http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

Gaslighting – The practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting

Harassment  – Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior by one individual towards another. https://www.tulare-kings-attorney.com/blog/2016/march/can-harassment-be-domestic-violence-/

Hypervigilance – refers to a tendency to constantly scan the environment for threats. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319289.php

Iatrogenesis – When a medical treatment or psychotherapy causes an illness or aggravates an existing illness. In psychotherapy, this may occur as a result of the comments, questions, or attitudes of the therapist. .https://psychotherapy.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.2002.56.2.244

Identity Disturbance – A psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view. Although the link below is for schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder, it is also relevant to CPTSD. https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/45/1/106/4823553

Impulsiveness – The tendency to act or speak based on current feelings rather than logical reasoning. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080475/

Intermittent Reinforcement – when rules, reward or personal boundaries are handed out or enforced inconsistently and occasionally. https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/11/this-powerful-manipulation-method-keeps-you-bonded-to-your-abuser/

Intimidation – Any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat. https://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/women/Power-play-The-psychology-of-intimidation/1950830-2637480-nvt7sqz/index.html

Invalidation – The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values, or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless. https://livewellwithsharonmartin.com/emotional-invalidation-emotional-abuse/

Low Self-Esteem – A common name for a negatively distorted self-view which is inconsistent with reality. https://www.psychalive.org/low-self-esteem/

Manipulation – The practice of steering an individual into a desired behavior for the purpose of achieving a hidden personal goal. https://exploringyourmind.com/psychological-manipulation-techniques-you-may-be-a-victim-of/

Minimization – To downplay, belittle, trivialize, or discount another person’s (or your own) feelings, thoughts, or opinions. https://www.verywellmind.com/magnification-and-minimization-2584183

Narcissist– A person who behaves with a pattern of selfishness, grandiosity, need for admiration, self-focus and a lack of empathy or consideration toward others. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662

Neglect – A passive form of abuse in which the physical or emotional needs of a dependent are disregarded or ignored by the person responsible for them. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/child-neglect

Norepinephrine – a neurotransmitter in the brain. Increased levels of the neurotransmitters – serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine – has been found to reduce depression. https://www.verywellhealth.com/norepinephrine-what-does-or-doesnt-it-do-for-you-3967568

Normalizing – a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive, or inappropriate behaviors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10528448

“Not My Fault Syndrome” – The practice of avoiding personal responsibility for one’s own words and actions. https://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/not-my-fault-syndrome

Numbing A symptom common to individuals with CPTSD. It represents an individual’s attempt to compensate for intrusive thoughts, memories, or feelings of the trauma by shutting down and becoming numb to internal or external stimuli. https://www.verywellmind.com/emotional-numbing-symptoms-2797372

Physical Abuse – Any form of voluntary behavior by one individual which inflicts pain, disease, or discomfort on another, or deprives them of necessary health, nutrition, and comfort. https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/adult-physical-abuse/what-is-physical-abuse

Reparenting – First termed by Pete Walker (2013) this is a term to describe the process of serving as one’s own parents to heal from the attachment disorder which commonly develops in Complex PTSD. https://www.talkspace.com/blog/reparenting-therapy-why-consider-it/

Repression – An unconscious defense mechanism which occurs when unacceptable ideas, images, or fantasies are kept out of awareness. https://www.britannica.com/science/repression-psychology

Revictimization – Describes the experience of a survivor being victimized or traumatized after the original trauma. https://ask4ufe.com/revictimization-hidden-truth-behind-childhood-sexual-abuse/

Sense of Entitlement – An unrealistic, unmerited, or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/personality-disorders/the-psychology-behind-sense-of-entitlement/

Serotonin –  acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Increased levels of the neurotransmitters – serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine – has been found to reduce depression. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/serotonin-facts-232248

Shaming – The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/test-case/201106/shame-you-do-you-use-shame-control-others

Silent Treatment – A passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse in which displeasure, disapproval, and contempt are exhibited through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence. https://www.heysigmund.com/the-silent-treatment/

Sleep Deprivation  – The practice of routinely interrupting, impeding, or restricting another person’s sleep cycle https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307334.php

Social Anxiety Disorder – Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental health condition where a person becomes anxious when faced with interacting in social situations. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder

Toxic Shame – Refers to a belief that you are inferior and/or unlovable as a person. Shame is something everyone experiences from time to time when we make an error; toxic shame is the belief that you are the error. https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-toxic-shame/

Trauma – An event or experience that is deeply disturbing on an emotional or psychological level. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm

Trauma-Informed Care – an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma-Informed Care also emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both consumers and providers, and helps survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. http://www.traumainformedcareproject.org/

Trauma Response – Walker outlines four basic defenses that most people use in life, but which in CPTSD become fixated and maladaptive due to ongoing trauma. These include the Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn and a number of hybrid types. http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

Trigger –  a stimulus such as a smell, sound, or sight that triggers feelings of trauma. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/trigger

Vicarious Traumatization– Sometimes called compassion fatigue, is the latest term that describes the phenomenon generally associated with the “cost of caring” for others (Figley, 1982). https://www.counseling.org/docs/trauma-disaster/fact-sheet-9—vicarious-trauma.pdf



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