Dissociation

  • EMDR can be useful for treating dissociative disorders.
  • Dissociation is a healthy adaptive defence used almost universally by people in response to overwhelming stress or life threatening danger.
  • However most people experience mild dissociative symptoms at times when their lives are not in immediate danger.
  • Dissociation can be viewed as running along a continuum; such as losing track of time when you’re immersed in a good novel to avoiding distress completely by not letting anyone or anything affect you or cause you to feel your feelings.
  • A questionnaire is usually given at the start of therapy to screen for dissociative disorders.
  • People with dissociative disorders don’t feel integrated but instead feel somewhat fragmented because they have memories, feelings, thoughts and behaviours that are experienced as uncharacteristic and foreign.
  • These divided senses of self and response patterns are called dissociative parts of the personality.
  • People who have suffered trauma, especially when it occurs in childhood, are more  likely to experience high levels of dissociation.
  • EMDR can be used to effectively integrate the parts of the self however when processing traumatic memories in a dissociative person, a good deal of preparation needs to take place in order to manage the dissociation and stabilise the person beforehand.
  • Ego state therapy using EMDR can be useful to improve a sense of inner connectedness so that ego states are working together instead of against each other in conflict.
Broken glass
Trauma