Chapter 1 – Understanding Dissociation

coping book coverI refuse to be afraid of this book (anymore). Let’s do this.

Happy Friday, and welcome to book club! We’re reading Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation, by Suzette Boon, Kathy Steele and Onno Van Der Hart. This first chapter covers basic terms and mental safety. Regardless of your current level of education, it’s essential reading before you go diving into the chapters that sound juicier. 

Content Overview

Learning to be Present
We start with a description of what it feels like to dissociate, from several perspectives. It teaches a grounding technique and recommends doing it daily.

Understanding Dissociation
This section starts with a highly controversial topic, Integration, but don’t let that word put you off. Regardless of your personal opinion or intentions in therapy, the chapter is actually about how the normal human brain develops, how ‘sense of self’ develops, and what happens if that developmental phase is interrupted by trauma.

The Origins of Chronic Dissociation 

“It’s important for you to know that in your journey towards understanding and coping with your dissociation, you do not need to focus immediately on the painful past. Rather, the first goal is to make sense of the dissociative aspects of yourself and learn to deal more effectively with them, so you can feel better in your daily life. Resolving the past comes after you learn to cope in the present.”

Dissociative Disorders
This final, meaty chunk covers the classification systems that define the various disorders. It begins by admitting the information isn’t particularly relevant or necessary for patients, and there won’t be a test. (aka Nick says, skip it.. lol…)

Discussion Starters

These are just ideas to get your juices flowing, not a mandate or test 😉 Write about whatever made you feel all the feels.

Did you make it all the way to the end? If not, what was the challenge you faced? If you share, you may find others who can share their tactics. This is a standard challenge reading the book, and I promise, you are not alone.

Has this chapter changed your perspective and if so, how? How might that impact your life?

Are there any parts of the chapter that you wanted to challenge? In what ways? Alternate viewpoints are necessary for understanding anything deeply, and a theory that cannot withstand some good poking is a shit theory. Have at it, just remember to point your feelings at the content not the people defending it. 😉

You can find additional comments on this chapter here.

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