Category Archives: dissociation

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part II

We have no idea where our animal defenses end and our dissociative symptoms begin. The more that I immerse myself in this area, the more I am surprised that the dissociation literature hasn’t thought more deeply about animal defenses. Animal … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part I

We need to disentangle the phenomena of animal defenses (e.g., freezing, hyperfocus, tonic immobility, etc.) from the phenomena of clinical dissociation (depersonalization, derealization, amnesia, etc.). Animal defenses have been built into us by natural selection; as such, their phenomena are … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, peritraumatic dissociation, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Forging a Deeper Understanding of Flashbacks: Part II

Flashbacks have at least four striking features: 1. Flashbacks are experiential, marked by a sense of reliving, accompanied by sensations and affects). 2. Flashbacks are distinctly fragmentary. 3. Flashbacks are autonomous and involuntary. 4. Flashbacks are frequently associated with dissociative … Continue reading

Posted in Acute Stress Disorder, dissociation, dissociative identity disorder, dissociative subtype, flashbacks, PTSD, research ideas, skepticism, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Forging a Deeper Understanding of Flashbacks: Part I

I believe that experienced trauma therapists (Think: PTSD specialists) possess an approximate, rather cognitive understanding of flashbacks. On the other hand, I am certain that dissociative disorders therapists (Think: DID specialists) have a much richer grasp of flashbacks, but I … Continue reading

Posted in dissociation, evolution, first-person accounts, flashbacks, PTSD, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

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