Retraumatization and Complex Traumatic Stress: A Treatment Overview
Retraumatization, for the purposes of the current book, is de¢ned as a consequence of multiple exposures to physically or psychologically traumatizing events. As such, it occurs within and across various traumatic event types and experiences; however, in the context of incest or child sexual abuse (CSA) in particular (the type of traumatic event that has received the most investigation), revictimization both in childhood and over the course of adulthood is a depressingly common occurrence. It adds massive insult to the original injury of the sexual abuse and whatever additional family or community factors (including nonbelief and nonintervention) contributed. It confounds the original abuse effects and skews them in the direction of shame, self-hatred, self-blame, self-disgust, and alienation from self and others. It is understandable how a child, and later an adult in such a circumstance, would see himself or herself as the common element and come to believe that the abuse and any subsequent maltreatment were deserved.