The Link Between Trauma and Dissociative Disorders

By:  Dr. Shari Kim

EMDRIA Consultant

The human brain is amazing, and we don’t even fully grasp its potential. One of the truly spectacular things it can do is to protect us from things that are too traumatic to hold.  

As we experience traumatic events, we experience a variety of responses. Sometimes, when those events become overwhelming, our brain has the capacity to build compartments within itself to hold those events. The depth of those compartments may vary, meaning we might be able to hold things in them only for short periods of time before they pop back out. At other times, our brains may build them so deeply that we can no longer access them by our own volition. Sometimes our compartments take on lives of their own, developing unique identities.

As we explore how our brain compartmentalizes trauma in this way, it starts to become clear how this process makes us dissociate. The more compartments we build, the easier it is to become lost in them. When...

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The Misunderstood Nature of Complex Trauma

complex trauma trauma Jan 09, 2024

By:  Lauren Rudolph, LPC

EMDRIA Consultant

When it comes to trauma, there are still myths floating around out there, such as: Trauma is only something veterans and people who go through life-threatening situations experience. Some people may still think “trauma is only in your head” or it’s something that will negatively affect your life forever.

It wouldn’t be surprising then that complex trauma, a relatively new concept, has its misconceptions and lack of understanding out there. Complex trauma typically refers to trauma that occurs in childhood and is ongoing, such as emotional abuse and/or neglect, bullying, domestic violence, etc. It can also include traumas experienced in both childhood and adulthood.

Here are 4 things everyone needs to know about complex trauma:

1. Complex trauma is often what did not happen to you

We tend to think of trauma as something that happens to someone. However complex trauma allows us to understand that we can be...

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How Are Trauma and Dissociation Linked

dissociation trauma Dec 05, 2023

By:  Lauren Rudolph, LPC

EMDRIA Consultant

As a therapist, I feel my journey continues to be finding out what I don’t know yet. Starting out in the field working with addictions, I realized, wow, there is a lot of trauma we are not treating. And, as I went on to become trained to treat trauma, I realized, wow, there is a lot of dissociation needing to be addressed. And, now that I have spent more time learning about complex trauma and dissociation, I’m noticing how pervasive these experiences are among the clients who we’re treating for mental health.

Let’s briefly review trauma. Trauma is the Greek word for “wound.” When we talk about psychological trauma, it can be a wound that is physical, psychological, or spiritual. Although the DSM 5 TR has criteria for defining what qualifies for a PTSD Diagnosis, trauma is a term that can encompass much more. Trauma used to be thought of as events such as natural disasters, near-death experiences, or...

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