Monthly Archives: September 2010

What Are Flashbacks and Why Do They Happen?

Experienced trauma therapists know that persistent flashbacks are incredibly toxic; they frequently cause counter-productive coping, escalating depression, suicidality, clinical emergencies, and hospitalizations. Today’s question is not how to manage flashbacks, but something much more fundamental: “What the heck are they?” We know what … Continue reading

Posted in alterations of consciousness, defense, dissociation, dissociative subtype, DSM-IV, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, flashbacks, neurobiology, PTSD, published/presented research, repression, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Are Flashbacks a Dissociative Symptom?

Dissociation is generally considered to be a defense mechanism because it distances us from painful or unacceptable realities (e.g., depersonalization, derealization) or it makes a painful reality disappear entirely (i.e., dissociative amnesia). Today’s thought question is: “Are flashbacks dissociative?” Do … Continue reading

Posted in defense, depersonalization, derealization, dissociation, dissociative disorders, DSM-IV, DSM5, first-person accounts, flashbacks, ICD-10, PTSD, repression, structural dissociation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 59 Comments

Persisting Peritraumatic Dissociation Is Different From Evolution-Prepared Dissociation

Evolution-prepared dissociation provides a hyper-clear picture of the dangerous circumstances that evoked it. In contrast, non-evolution-prepared peritraumatic dissociation does precisely the opposite — it distances, obscures, pushes away, avoids, hides, and blocks a clear picture of the dangerous circumstances that … Continue reading

Posted in Acute Stress Disorder, defense, depersonalization, derealization, dissociation, dissociative disorders, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, measures of dissociation, peritraumatic dissociation, PTSD, published/presented research, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Evolutionary Link Between Trauma and Dissociation

As a clinician who wants to understand dissociation, I keep bumping into two fundamental questions: 1. What is the relationship between trauma and dissociation? 2. What is the relationship between dissociation and PTSD? I ended my last post with a … Continue reading

Posted in defense, dissociation, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, peritraumatic dissociation, PTSD, research ideas, skepticism, structural dissociation, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

It Takes a Community To Understand Dissociation

Understanding Dissociation.com launched one week ago. Since then, it has logged 500+ Hits, 41 Comments (albeit nearly half of them mine as I respond to your Comments), and 19 subscriptions by email. A good start, I think. Because I am … Continue reading

Posted in alterations of consciousness, dissociation, measures of dissociation, PTSD, structural dissociation | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Are You Aware of the Disagreements About Dissociation?

We are in the midst of a largely unacknowledged disagreement about what dissociation is. A few parties to this disagreement are quite explicit about their difference of opinion (e.g., Steele, Dorahy, Van der Hart, & Nijenhuis, 2009). Most of us, … Continue reading

Posted in defense, dissociation, first-person accounts, PTSD, repression, structural dissociation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Welcome to the Launch of UnderstandingDissociation.com!

UnderstandingDissociation.com seeks to advance our understanding of dissociation and its relationship to trauma. To that end, I will present my own thoughts as well the latest thinking from the literature, recent presentations, and discussions at conferences. I anticipate that your … Continue reading

Posted in depersonalization, derealization, dissociation, films, peritraumatic dissociation, research ideas, structural dissociation, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 36 Comments