Understanding Complex Trauma, Complex Reactions, and Treatment Approaches

Cumulative adversities faced by many persons, communities, ethno-cultural, religious, political, and sexual minority groups, and societies around the globe can also constitute forms of complex trauma. Some occur over the life course beginning in childhood and have some of the same developmental impacts described above. Others, occurring later in life, are often traumatic or potentially traumatic and can worsen the impact of early life complex trauma and cause the development of complex traumatic stress reactions. These adversities can include but are not limited to:
◦ Poverty and ongoing economic challenge and lack of essentials or other resources
◦ Community violence and the inability to escape/re-locate
◦ Homelessness
◦ Disenfranchised ethno-racial, religious, and/or sexual minority status and repercussions
◦ Incarceration and residential placement and ongoing threat and assault
◦ Ongoing sexual and physical re-victimization and re-traumatization in the family or other contexts, including prostitution and sexual slavery
◦ Human rights violations including political repression, genocide/”ethnic cleansing,” and torture
◦ Displacement, refugee status, and relocation
◦ War and combat involvement or exposure
◦ Developmental, intellectual, physical health, mental health/psychiatric, and age-related limitations, impairments, and challenges
◦ Exposure to death, dying, and the grotesque in emergency response

Understanding Complex Trauma, Complex Reactions, and Treatment Approaches

Musings on Cognitive Dissonance and Integrity

Then I step back and realize this belief is based on the fundamental attribution error: Blaming myself for something that is situational! We cannot live in full integrity in a culture that makes that impossible! The ultimate cultural trauma might just be that we are taught that we can, perpetually causing cognitive dissonance in us (belief 1: Reality is a certain way; belief 2: I have the power to change that reality)! The cultural norm of individualism is wounding us because we cannot find individual solutions to systemic problems and thus are always out of integrity, which can be painful for many of us.

Musings on Cognitive Dissonance and Integrity

Your Brain Is Constantly Searching for Problems to Fix

Why do many problems in life seem to stubbornly stick around, no matter how hard people work to fix them? It turns out that a quirk in the way human brains process information means that when something becomes rare, we sometimes see it in more places than ever. 
You can probably think of many similar situations in which problems never seem to go away, because people keep changing how they define them. This is sometimes called “concept creep,” or “moving the goalposts,” and it can be a frustrating experience. How can you know if you’re making progress solving a problem, when you keep redefining what it means to solve it?

Your Brain Is Constantly Searching for Problems to Fix

Taking ownership of the label

Differences in ways of being social

Autistic collaboration involves sharing of knowledge and working towards a shared goal of generating new levels of knowledge and understanding. The individual innate moral compass mediates the tension between the desire to assist others vs the desire learn about the world.

These inclinations are reflected in the cultural transmission of new discoveries from children to parents

Education of parents by the children focuses on teaching about the focus and boundaries of individual areas of interest

Sharing of knowledge and asking probing questions is seen as a “natural” human behaviour

Adolescence is a period of intensive knowledge acquisition, where individual areas of interests are explored in great depth, and where in the absence of autistic peers with compatible interests new knowledge is often shared with parents

Taking ownership of the label