Chapter 3 – Understanding Dissociative Parts of the Personality

coping book coverHappy Friday, fam! We’re reading Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation, by Suzette Boon, Kathy Steele and Onno Van Der Hart.

Chapter 3 describes and categorizes parts, introduces various ways parts may interact, and made me fairly defensive. I threatened to burn the book and that’s awkward given I’ve got a digital copy too. This post ‘made it’ with the assistance of a new friend, who gave me a safe space to smash into my triggers, awesome emotional support, and a high five on the other side. It’s brave to ask for help, and it’s worth it.

Content Overview

The Inner World of the Dissociative Individual
From why inner spaces exist, to why alters might be creatures, to whether or not alters are aware of each other, this section answers some of the most common questions about dissociative parts. It categorizes parts based on function: 1) focusing on daily life and avoiding traumatic memories or 2) stuck in past traumatic experiences, and focused on defense against threat.

The Meaning and Functions of Specific Types of Parts of the Personality
This section digs deeper into concepts like helpers, fighters, and ashamed parts. It explains the types of ongoing inner conflict people with dissociative disorders can feel, phobias of inner experiences/parts, and emphasizes the importance of compassion towards the suffering of those parts stuck in the past.

Discussion Starters

Reading a psychologist categorize you isn’t easy; nobody likes to be labelled or put in a box. Any burn-the-book moments for you?

Has this changed your perspective regarding your dissociative parts? Has it changed their opinion of you?

Any challenges getting through the material or homework? Maybe somebody can share their tips 🙂

You can find additional comments on this chapter here.

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