Book Review – Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker

Our review of Pete Walker’s book focused on Complex PTSD.

I knew I needed to find new ways to cope with my Complex PTSD, or CPTSD. Diagnosed in 2021 and after receiving some therapy and doing a healing journal, in 2022 I still found myself struggling with the symptoms. Of course, in retrospect that is not a long time! But I wanted to learn more, so I could arm myself better against the symptoms.

I stumbled across Pete Walker’s book while browsing my kindle app. What drew me to it most was that the author himself has CPTSD. I thought I could learn a lot from him, and that it would be good to have some validation for what I experience and feel.

“Complex PTSD” is an overview of the tasks of recovering, and an illumination of the silver linings that can come out of effective recovery work. It is also a map of the recovery process, and contains a great many practical tools and techniques for recovering from CPTSD. It is also richly illustrated with examples of his own and others’ journeys of recovering.

Amazon’s Book Summary

The Writing Style

I am an avid reader and writer, but even I did find Walker’s writing style very advanced. It is not something I minded as I love words and discovering new ones. However, the advanced style might deter some from reading it. The sections are laid out logically, and the content flows easily from one subsection to the next.

The Content

This is an all-encompassing book for those struggling with CPTSD. It starts from the basics and works its way through recovery strategies. What I really liked was that Walker began with understanding CPTSD and the different “styles” of it you may experience, based on the Four F’s (Flight, Fight, Freeze, and Fawn). So many times, I found myself nodding enthusiastically, thinking, “Yes, that’s me!”

Walker uses multiple real-world examples from his clients and from himself in how CPTSD impacts daily life, and what to do when a trigger strikes. I found this to be extremely helpful. It has helped me understand why I react to certain things the way I do, and how to navigate those situations.

Walker includes a section toward the end that is useful for therapists and those seeking therapy. It talks about therapy styles and what tends to be the most helpful for CPTSD sufferers.

The Impact

I cannot minimize the positive impact this book had on my life. I still use the strategies and phrases he described, and I understand myself and my emotions better. His section on “emotional flashbacks” was extremely helpful, as this has been the basis for a lot of problems I struggle with.

I cannot recommend enough that anyone struggling with CPTSD reads this book. It will change your life and give you a whole new understanding of your conditions, and a toolset to combat it.