If you live with complex post-traumatic stress disorder or love someone who does, you are aware of how difficult it is to find a therapist who understands the disorder. While there are tons of clinicians who received training in post-traumatic stress disorder, few have even heard of CPTSD, and some do not believe it exists.

This article will examine where to look and give you some names of clinicians who do treat complex post-traumatic stress disorder so that you might contact them for a referral. Also, at the end of this piece, CPTSD Foundation will have a special announcement.

Frustration on Steroids

The American Psychological Association states that approximately 5.2 million people living in the United States between the ages of 18-54 have post-traumatic stress disorder. Among those, millions of people are a large number of folks who have CPTSD.

However, trying to find a mental health professional who handles the complex nature of CPTSD is not just tricky; for many, it seems impossible. This lack of available care ties down many people and leaves the suffering alone or with confused and hurt family members.

It may be that the problem with finding care for CPTSD is that it is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition five (DSM-5). Instead, currently, only PTSD appears in the DSM-5, leaving providers of mental health care without any guidance on how to diagnose the disorder. Also, without a diagnosis code from the DSM-5, providers cannot bill insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, if they do treat it.

This lack of funding to treat CPTSD is only one of the obstacles to getting effective treatment. The frustration of looking and looking and looking online and finally asking therapists if they treat complex post-traumatic stress disorder is frustrating. It is also disappointing to learn from that therapist that they do not treat the disorder.

A Short List of Therapists Who Might Help

The rest of this article will center on different therapists around the world who do understand and specialize in the treatment of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. We will also list helpful websites where you can get more information.

Pete Walker. Pete Walker is a licensed psychotherapist who holds degrees in social work and counseling psychology. His private practice is located in Berkeley, California. Mr. Walker specializes in helping those who were traumatized in their childhoods with the symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

Walker is the author of three books about CPTSD called Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, The Tao of Fully Feeling: Harvesting Forgiveness Out of Blame and Homesteading in the Calm Eye of the Storm: A Therapist Navigates his CPTSD.  

Pete Walker is well-known for his willingness to answer emails with questions regarding treatment and about the location of therapists who treat CPTSD. If you go to his website http://www.pete-walker.com/, you will find tons of helpful information as well as a link to Mr. Walker’s email.

Peter Levine. Dr. Levine earned his Ph.D. in medical biophysics and has a doctorate in psychology. Levine operates from Boulder, Colorado, and specializes in somatic experiencing (how the body continues to experience trauma long after it has ended). Dr. Levine’s website traumahealing.org offers a find a therapist feature on its front page.

Kathy Brous. Kathy is a writer and owns a website on infant attachment disorder called AttachmentDisorderHealing.com.

If you click on resources, you will see in the dropdown menu that she has listed a find a therapist feature. Although she helps people find therapists who specialize in attachment disorders, the therapists listed would be a great resource to ask if they know of someone in your area who treats CPTSD. Brous’ website is full of information about attachment disorders, and she is the co-founder of the Orange County, California Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Task Force. She has written a book, Don’t Try This Alone.

Arielle Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz is a licensed clinical psychologist working out of Boulder, Colorado. Schwartz has a private practice and is the developer of Resistance-Informed Therapy. She offers Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness-based, and somatic (body-centered) therapies.

Although Dr. Schwartz’s website currently states her practice is full, you can still email her for information on where to look for a therapist. Go to her website drarielleschwartz.com and look for the email address below her picture.

Houston Center for Christian Counseling. For those who prefer a Christian perspective on therapy, the Houston Center for Christian Counseling offers treatment in both Sugar Land and Katy, Texas. This organization lists thirty therapists who specialize in trauma and abuse issues. Their website is christiancounselinghouston.com.

Psychology Today. Psychologytoday.com offers a colossal search engine to help find a therapist to fit all needs. Although you cannot search for CPTSD directly, you can find therapists in your area who are trauma-informed and treat PTSD.

Shari Botwin. Shari Botwin is an LCSW who works out of her private practice in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Botwin offers teletherapy counseling, and she treats those who have experienced eating disorders, depression, grief, abuse, and trauma. You can find Shari Botwin is also the author of the book, Thriving After Trauma, Stories of Living and Healing and her website is sharibotwin.com.

Greta Gleissner. Greta Gleissner is the author of the book Something Spectacular: The True Story of a Rockette’s Battle with Bulimia and a psychotherapist working in New York. Although Gleissner specializes in eating disorders, she is a trauma-informed therapist and could potentially point you to a therapist in the area where she practices. Gleissner’s website is gretagleissner.com.

Robyn Brickel. Robyn Brickel MA, LMFT, is the director of Brickel and Associates LLC, a private psychotherapy practice working out of Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. Brickel and the other therapists who work for her are trauma-informed, meaning the organization is structured to treat the whole person and involves recognizing, understanding, and responding to the effects of all kinds of trauma. You can reach Robyn Brickel through her website brickelandassociates.com.

Annita Sawyer. Dr. Sawyer, Ph.D. is recognized by the Yale School of Medicine out of Northampton, Massachusetts. Dr. Sawyer, who is a trauma-informed therapist who has done workshops on CPTSD. Her office is currently located in North Branford, Connecticut. To reach Dr. Sawyer for questions email her at [email protected]. You can also contact her at her website http://www.smokingcigaretteseatingglass.com/

Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN). This group offers an essential listing of therapists for about any state in the U.S. You can find this list at the following website: https://www.attachmenttraumanetwork.org/therapists/

Sidran Institute. The Sidran Institute is an organization that offers information about traumatic stress, dissociative disorders, and co-occurring issues. You can find them at the following website address: https://www.sidran.org/

International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD). This organization has a find a therapist page at the following link https://isstd.connectedcommunity.org/network/network-find-a-professional.

Joshua Moore. Mr. Moore is a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in neurofeedback for the treatment of psychological and physical health problems. Currently, Joshua Moore works with people who have dissociative identity disorder, PTSD, ADD, ADHD, and traumatic brain injuries. Located in Vancouver, Washington, Joshua Moore, and his life partner Michelle Moore who is also a clinician, are not accepting new patients at this time. However, that should not stop you from visiting their website: https://neurofeedbackcare.com/.

Shannon Thomas. As the lead therapist and owner of Southlake Counseling operating in Southlake, Texas, Shannon Thomas is a certified clinical trauma professional specializing in recovery from abuse. Thomas is also the author of the international bestseller, Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse. Shannon Thomas has a blog site you can find at https://southlakecounseling.org/blog/.

Winding It All Up for Now

The list of websites where you can go to ask questions or to seek help is not all-inclusive but offer a glimpse of the available resources. Don’t forget to contact clinics and doctors in your area and always check to see what kind of insurance providers will accept.

Unfortunately, many trauma therapists are cash only and do not accept any type of insurance. The reason is simple; as mentioned above, they cannot bill for their trauma services and especially complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you a survivor or someone who loves a survivor and cannot find a therapist who treats complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please, contact CPTSD Foundation. We have a staff of volunteers who have been compiling a list of providers who treat CPTSD. They would be happy to give you more ideas for where to look for and find a therapist that will help you.

Are you a therapist who treats CPTSD? Please, consider dropping us a line to add you to our growing list of providers. You would not only get aid in finding clients but also you would be helping someone find the peace they deserve.

Now to our surprise. Hang onto your hats! Shortly, CPTSD Foundation will have compiled a long list of providers who treat complex post-traumatic stress disorder. When it becomes available, we will be putting it on our website www.CPTSDFoundation.org.

Make sure to visit us and sign up for our weekly newsletter that will help keep you informed on treatment options and much more for complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you or a loved one are living in the despair and isolation that comes with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please, come to us for help. CPTSD Foundation offers a wide range of services including:

The Healing Book Club

Today, CPTSD Foundation would like to invite you to our healing book club, where we are reading a new book in July 2020. The title of the latest featured book is “The Drama of the Gifted Child, The Search for the True Self” by Alice Miller.

The book examines childhood trauma and the lifelong effects it has on a person’s management of repressed anger and pain.

Led by Sabra Cain, the healing book club is only $7 per month, the fee going towards scholarships for those who cannot afford access to materials offered by CPTSD Foundation.

Should you decide to join the Healing Book Club, please purchase your books through our Amazon link to help us help you.

All our services are reasonably priced, and some are even free. So, to gain more insight into how complex post-traumatic stress disorder is altering your life and how you can overcome it, sign-up, we will be glad to help you.  If you cannot afford to pay go to www.cptsdfoundation.org/scholarship to apply for aid. We only wish to serve you.

The Difficulty of Finding a Therapist for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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