What Is Complex Trauma And Why It Can’t Be Resolved In One Session

When few years back one of my clients got introduced to a powerful trauma healing modality I’ve started working with, she was convinced Completion Process is technique for her. A healing tool which will help her healing trauma from her childhood for good and set her free for life. She was super excited. And I as her saviour, was over the moon!

That however did NOT happen. We have had one an amazing and deep session which took several hours. She did feel much better afterwards. BUT her life wasn’t instantly and automatically transformed. Which made her ( and myself ) feeling bad. She has lost hope and went deeper into depression, blaming herself: “Something must be terribly wrong with me if this Healing Power Bomb didn’t work on me”.

I of course, could have prevented that. How? Instead of desperately trying to instantly make her feel better, promising her miracles in one-off trauma trip, I should have been more focused on giving her much needed information on what complex trauma resolution actually requires.


Time DOESN’T heal our wounds – Complex Trauma takes TIME and HARD WORK to heal.


And no matter how powerful and amazing Completion Process or other trauma healing tools are, they can NEVER work as a quick fix.



One of the leaders in the field of traumatology, Judith Herman, defines complex trauma as “the existence of a complex form of posttraumatic disorder in survivors of prolonged, repeated trauma”.


Complex trauma isn’t just a one horrifying event – it is a horrifying LIFE.

Complex trauma involves multiple, repetitive, chronic, interpersonal stressors where, over the years and during developmentally most vulnerable times, person has been repeatedly chronically harmed, by other human beings, usually by their caregivers.

Those who were suppose to take care of child’s safety and well being are the ones causing them harm, over and over again… How can the child bond with the parents who chronically damage them?

Imagine a little baby who, during the most vulnerable and precious phase of their childhood, instead of developing, growing and learning in a loving, nurturing and safe environment – is instead being drenched in trauma. Baby’s sense of self is being eroded from the birth and he or she are forced to cope with all of it on their own.

Children who grow up with complex trauma carry loads of toxic shame and guilt within them and believe they, as children and human beings, in their core, are bad. It’s not that they sometimes do wrong things – most of the time they feel wrong themselves.

Worse about chronic and constant trauma for a child isn’t the severity of the constant abuse but knowing there is no exit door, they are stuck with it forever. They never manage to get to a peaceful, loving and safe place where they could possibly (re)gain some emotional stability.

They also never get a validation for the pain they are experiencing – instead they are being punished and shamed for feeling and releasing their negative emotions.


Within complex trauma people can have layers of trauma – often war veterans don’t just suffer from war PTSD, they have been exposed to some severe trauma in their childhood as well ( e.g. growing up with alcoholic abusive father in a violent home ), so they have been traumatised many times over different periods of their life.


Anything that isn’t a single incident trauma like (e.g. a car accident, gun & street violence incident, incident in the war) is a complex trauma.

That can be physical, emotional or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, abandonment, separation, betrayal, rejection in the childhood.

Adopted, fostered and orphan children all have complex ( developmental ) trauma in common.

Symptoms of complex trauma could be: experiencing powerlessness, low self-confidence, shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, suppressing emotions, having relationship difficulties, and so on…

If one has symptoms which impact their worldviews and ability to feel SAFE ( physically AND emotionally ), insecure and disorganized attachments and constant distress, insecurities and ongoing pain and suffering – those symptoms are mostly driven from their foundational experiences, developmental traumas and have profound physiological impact on the brain, adrenaline glands etc. They need resolution and healing. 

New clients often ask me how many sessions they need to go through before they notice shifts and changes in their life.

While answering on that question I often compare healing work with going to the gym.

Can one get a six pack in one gym session? Of course not.

I still remember myself investing 10 months and over 5000 euros in healing work with one of my therapists in times when I suffered the most.

I was VERY desperate to Live and to Heal.

I remember saying to my therapist: “As long as it takes I will be coming in once a week and will do all homework needed. I will do what ever it takes -no matter how long it lasts and how much it costs”.

I was very young and VERY determined to heal. When I look back I NEVER ever regret the time and money invested, as I feel a totally different person thanks to that therapy and all the work.. I LOVE my life today and I’m seeing it as a Gift.

It IS possible to heal from a history of complex trauma but that does require a Serious and Committed approach and Ongoing Sessions with the Right Person.


First step in your healing would be to find a right healing modality for you.

Do your research.




FEEL what’s right for you.

Remember – no one knows what’s better for you than you yourself.

Feel and listen to your gut’s message.

Once you find your favourite healing tool it is then time to search for the person who most resonates with you. Someone you FEEL you can trust.

Please do not be hard on yourself expecting to heal your trauma on your own – feel how re-traumatising just that expectation is for you!

Keep in mind that trauma work is a very sensitive and super vulnerable work with our emotions where the sync between practitioner and the client is CRUICAL – follow your Heart when choosing a practitioner.

Remember that most of our clients brag about us not because we are the best but because we are the best for THEM in that moment.

Last thing – commit yourself to work hard on ‘your stuff’ for minimum six months in a regular continuous sessions with your practitioner.

And instead of analyzing yourself and your life, looking for shifts and changes after each and every session, focus on doing all your homework in between the sessions – Trust and Allow integration of each and every session to do its healing job.

Keep a daily Feel Journal and after 6 months re-read your first notes. I can promise you, there will be some significant difference even just in the way you write about your feelings!

This is what one of my clients recently wrote to me, after six months of our continuous work:

“…I’m not anywhere near as scared to be emotional as I was before I met you. I’m not scared to be myself, and I’m as enthusiastic about life and the future as I’ve ever been. I do see the good in life and I am grateful for so many things. I don’t know if you remember in one of our sessions, you were telling me how great life was, and how grateful you were to be alive. All I could think of was how I didn’t think any of that. I thought the complete opposite of that in fact. And now I understand how you were feeling when you said all those things. And I know that you’re a huge reason I do feel those things too. I do appreciate all that you’ve done, and all you continue to do. “

Let us stop expecting to heal our complex trauma over night.

Let us instead love and nurse our wounds which so desperately wait for our acknowledgement, acceptance, validation, our patience, love and healing.

Let us conquer our mountain.