Often people who have experienced trauma suffer from dissociation but what does that mean. The word dissociation can have several meanings. In the DSM-5 dissociation is characterized by a disruption in consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, and more. However, dissociation occurs on a spectrum. We all dissociate at some times. It can be as simple as realizing that you have not been present while driving, ending up passing your off-ramp or as serious as having gaps in memory of specific periods of time. Often people in therapy will experience fogginess or confusion when sensitive information is approached. Sometimes people describe an overall numbness in their day to day lives or a feeling that they are outside of themselves watching from a distance. In its most serious form, some trauma survivors may suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder which is characterized by at least two or more distinct personality states. With this disorder, the person will experience a discontinuity in sense-of-self, along with alterations in mood, behaviors perception and motor functioning. Dissociation can manifest in various ways, but no matter what form it takes, it’s often a result of underlying childhood traumas. Our trauma treatment program in Sherman Oaks, Trauma and Beyond Center ® has helped many to resolve trauma and the accompanying dissociation.
For most people, they hear “dissociation” and just leap right to thinking that it’s suffering from multiple personalities. While dissociative identity disorder can include the existence of two or more distinct identities or personality states, that’s not how dissociation works for most people. For many, dissociation is about large gaps in their memory. These aren’t necessarily gaps about events that happened long ago (as most people have) but rather, they’re gaps about events that happen every day, or they include personal information that you would think a person would remember. Very often, these gaps include traumatic events from a person’s past that remain unresolved. That can be the driver of the dissociation.
Lack of Connection
For many, that’s what dissociation is. It’s a mental process that displays a lack of connection between a person’s memory, their everyday thoughts, as well as their sense of identity. By “sense of identity,” you may think of it as a synonym for “who they are.” While this may sound like something that’s always terrible, many of us experience a mild version of this every day. If you’ve ever daydreamed at work or in class about a movie you saw last night, or if you’ve been driving for a while and don’t remember every single moment, then those are mild forms of dissociation. The more severe versions of this are what we treat. They can include loss of identity, an inability to recall personally significant memories or even multiple personalities.
Our Trauma Treatment in Sherman Oaks
Many people are put off from trying to get help for dissociation because they believe that treatment centers aren’t really able to help them. Here at Trauma and Beyond ® our trauma focused clinical team is trained to work with dissociation in its many forms. We know how difficult it can be to get through a day when you’re dealing with dissociation. That’s why we use only highly trained professionals who have dealt with dissociation and all of the other manifestations of trauma.
Different Therapy Modalities
We don’t believe in just using one kind of therapy or treatment for all of our patients. To make sure that our patients receive the most benefit from treatment, we tailor our work to meet the specific needs of each patient. Each person will receive an assessment to inform a treatment plan uniquely for them. To start this process and find the right treatment for trauma and dissociation, call for a free consultation at (818) 651-0725.