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What is Dissociation?

What is Dissociation?

3rd November 2018 by Centred Counselling0

Ever driven to work and not remembered the journey, but arrived safely nevertheless? Ever wondered how, when faced with grief, some people are able to become very practical, organise funerals and care for others?

Children and adults that experience first hand or witness trauma, how do they get through those terrible times?

Dissociation is another word for disconnection and happens on a daily basis for many people; its a normal process that people may experience every day. On the lighter side of things, the trip to work might become a mystery because your brain has disconnected its focus from mundane repetitive driving, instead focusing on something more pressing that needs to be considered.

Sometimes the disconnection might be from overwhelming emotions, leaving someone able to complete practical tasks. With trauma, sometimes its the emotions, sensations, memories, and experiences that become so overwhelming that in order to survive, those things need to be disconnected from the parts that need to make sense of things or survive.

Dissociation may last minutes or weeks and each person will experience it in a way that is unique to them.
Considering how ‘normal’ dissociation can be, I am always surprised at how little talk there is about it, and therefore wanted to share some awareness for anyone that might benefit. Dissociation is a natural process and will often run its course without any extra help being needed, however sometimes, especially if trauma based, Dissociative episodes may in themselves become distressing for the individual; they may become frequent and life changing for the people experiencing them.

Whilst I was training to become a counsellor, I undertook all of the training offered by Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivers (PODS).

As I found it so interesting and that it was from a perspective that was refreshing and accessible. Also, Carolyn Spring now has her own website where she has short videos that help to educate and inform people that are experiencing dissociation, as well as counsellors that need help when supporting their clients.

Cover image courtesy of:
Elijah Hiett

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