Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Counseling


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Aaron Suomala Folkerds


complex posttraumatic stress disorder, complex trauma, CPTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD


Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) remains elusive to many practitioners due to its lack of recognition in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Accordingly, this severe psychiatric disorder may become misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed, mistreated, or untreated. Another common misinterpretation is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a substitute diagnosis out of misinformation or lack of knowledge. Provided is a conceptualization of CPTSD for clarity on this unique, distinct disorder. Moreover, a further discussion among variables differentiating PTSD and CPTSD is presented, implicating the need for awareness, familiarity and comfort among clinicians, and advocation for the diagnosis of CPTSD as a standalone disorder in the DSM. The training presented in this project will educate mental health professionals on the history, conceptualization, differentiation, treatment, and assessment for CPTSD.

Included in

Counseling Commons



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