The Meadows Blog

Monday, 30 May 2011 20:00

Jerry Boriskin: What is complex PTSD?

The Meadows, America's premier center for the treatment of addiction and trauma, is pleased to present a series of videos featuring Dr. Jerry Boriskin discussing post-traumatic stress disorder and complex PTSD.

In the second installment of this 10-part series, Dr. Boriskin, senior fellow at The Meadows and leading expert in the treatment of PTSD and co-occurring disorders, addresses the most complicated form of the disorder: complex PTSD.

"Essentially, complex PTSD is post-traumatic stress disorder that affects multiple dimensions of functioning," he explains, adding that complex PTSD can affect one's interpersonal relationships, spiritual system, perceptions, and even biology.

Other videos in this series focus on treating PTSD and co-occurring disorders, evidence-based treatment methods, and long-term treatment of PTSD.

Dr. Boriskin is an author, lecturer, and clinician with expertise in trauma, PTSD, and addictive disorders. He began his career in 1979, when PTSD emerged as a diagnosis. In the mid-1980s, he began working with sexual abuse survivors and addicts. An early advocate of extended care, he developed two extended-care residential treatment programs for co-occurring disorders. He authored PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors and co-authored At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When A Loved One is Diagnosed with Addiction and Mental Illness.

To view the videos in The Meadows series, see For more about The Meadows’ innovative treatment program for PTSD and other disorders, see or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

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The Meadows is pleased to present its ongoing series of videos on addiction and trauma; the series features some of the most influential figures in the mental health field, including Maureen Canning, John Bradshaw, and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, among others.
In the second video of her series, Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT, clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows, discusses the nature of sexual addiction and trauma in women.

"Sexual addiction, unlike other addictions, is based in shame," she explains. "Sex addicts have a sense of self that is very diminished. They feel worthless at the core of who they are. The feel as if they don't deserve love."

She goes on to explain that most sexual addictions are rooted in childhood trauma - and that trauma causes disruptions in psychosexual development.

"When the child grows up, they want to undo that original trauma, and so they start to act out," Ms. Canning says. "And when they act out, they re-create the original behavior."

In addition to her role as senior fellow at The Meadows, Ms. Canning is a clinical consultant at Dakota, an extended-care facility dedicated exclusively to the treatment of sexual addiction and trauma. Her extensive clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; lectures; educational trainings; and interventions. She is the author of Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

In other videos in the series, Ms. Canning discusses such topics as the nature of healthy sexuality, how sexual addiction can kill, and what partners of sex addicts need to know. View the entire series of The Meadows' videos at For more information about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, see or call The Meadows at 888-888-8888.

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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Issues
by Michael Cooter, MSSW, LCSW

Imagine growing up in a world where your identity is always, if not frequently, being challenged due to external reality. Your external perceptions are profoundly incongruent with your internal experience. The GLBT individual, for instance, sees the world as predominately heterosexual: opposite-sex partners, rituals celebrating these relationships, and their related paths to validation.

Transgendered individuals' internal perceptions regarding their own gender do not match others' perceptions of them. To survive, one engages in fantasy, compartmentalization, hypervigilence, and other adaptations to navigate daily existence. This is a common experience among many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals.

This need to conceal, hide, and withhold the authentic self leads to a significantly adapted response that psychologically manifests itself in a variety of secondary symptoms. These symptoms can best be identified using The Meadows' Model of treatment.
To portray oneself dishonestly leads to a disruption (trauma) in one's usual path of development. The Meadows' Model addresses the core issues associated with such a disruption: self-esteem, boundaries, reality, dependency, and moderation. GLBT individuals struggle with issues of self-esteem prior to, during, and after the coming-out process. Many who have internalized shaming and homophobic messages about their inherent value will attempt to cope with this "carried shame" by becoming perfectionistic, or "better than." Others have no sense of inherent worth and believe the messages that they are "less than," or not as good as their heterosexual counterparts. Both defenses result from growing up in a predominately heterosexual world.

Carried shame plays a powerful role in the development of dependency on mood-altering chemicals and the chronicity of mood disorders. For the GLBT client in particular, issues of carried shame must be identified and processed in order to reach a hopeful recovery. If such issues remain unaddressed, the patient is vulnerable to interactive addictions and relapse in primary addictions/mood disregulation.

At The Meadows, we teach and work with patients to identify and release the internalized shaming messages associated with sexual orientation and gender identification. We support and guide patients in releasing "carried shame" resulting from cultural, peer, and family experiences. We believe, embrace, and support all people in celebrating their inherent value.

Michael Cooter, MSSW, LCSW
Director, Strategic Relations
The Meadows

Michael has previous experience working with The Meadows. He previously worked as a primary therapist, workshop facilitator of Love Addiction/ Survivor's groups and co-facilitated PIT trainings with Pia Mellody. Michael has extensive experience working with individuals impacted by specific combat related trauma. This includes almost five years work with post deployment trauma working with the Department of Defense. He maintains a private practice in Phoenix working with individuals, partners, and families.

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The Meadows, one of America's leading centers for the treatment of addiction and trauma, presents an ongoing series of videos featuring leading experts in the field of mental health, including Dr. Jerry Boriskin, Maureen Canning, and John Bradshaw, among others.

In the first installment of this series, Dr. Jerry Boriskin, senior fellow at The Meadows, introduces himself and discusses his 30-year career as a licensed psychologist and educator working in the fields of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring addictive disorders. (Co-occurring disorders exist in an individual who has one or more addictive disorders and one or more psychiatric disorders.)

"My passion is teaching about how PTSD and addictions work together," he explains.

Dr. Boriskin is an author, lecturer, and clinician with expertise in treating trauma, PTSD, and addictive disorders. He was an early advocate for the use of extended care and has developed two extended residential treatment programs for co-occurring disorders. He has authored several books, including PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors and At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When A Loved One is Diagnosed With Addiction and Mental Illness. He currently is working on a book focusing on Complex PTSD, the most complicated type of post-traumatic stress disorder. The working title is Dancing With Demons: Why People With Complicated Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Live in the Past, Dread the Future, and Live in the Moment.

"I think that title captures the essence of a lot of what I'm trying to teach," he says.

To view Dr. Boriskin's video - and other videos in the series - see For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for PTSD and other disorders, see or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

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The Meadows London Free Lecture, Understanding Trauma and the Brain, presented by Dr. Shelley Uram on Wednesday 18 May 2011 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at The Cadogan Hotel 75 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London, SWIX 9 SG.

Join The Meadows' Senior Fellow, psychiatrist Dr. Shelley Uram for this fascinating and entertaining look into how our brains’ survival functions often interfere with our Authentic Self. It is through aligning with our Authentic Self that our capacity to experience life to the fullest is derived. Dr. Uram will help you discover "blocks" to your Authentic Self and show you what to do with them.

No registration required. For information on The Meadows or its London-based activities, please contact Jenna Pastore,National Community Relations Representative (eastern United States and international),at 001-815-641-2185 or email

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