Category Archives: research

When Animal Defenses Encounter A Human Predator: Part I

Tonic immobility is the ‘last chance’ biological reflex that is triggered when an animal is caught by a predator. Today’s post focuses on a rarely noted fact about tonic immobility — it has 4 possible outcomes, not two: (1) death … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, first-person accounts, human predators, research, Tonic immobility, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 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

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

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

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