Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders (DD) are mental conditions characterized by disturbances or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity, or perception. Typically, dissociative disorders occur as a coping mechanism for the brain to deal with a situation too upsetting for the conscious mind to process. Dissociative disorders are thought to be primarily caused by trauma or abuse, causing the individual to escape reality in involuntary and pathological ways. They can also be caused by things like stress or substance abuse. There are three main types of dissociative disorders: 1. dissociative amnesia and/or fugue: selective amnesia of a specific time, person or event. 2. Dissociative identity disorder: an indistinct or distorted sense of identity. 3. Depersonalization disorder: a feeling of being detached from yourself. If you think you may be suffering from a dissociative disorder, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experts today.

Meet the specialists

If you have experienced intense life events, you may be familiar with experiences like chronic forgetfulness, regularly "zoning out," feeling out of place in your body, or feeling emotions that seem to come out of nowhere. These may be related to dissociation, a symptom that I believe many therapist fail to screen for when treating clients. Some clients who have been in therapy for years with little to no improvement may be stuck behind dissociative symptoms.

— Summer Dowd-Lukesh, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Fontana, CA
 

The thing about dissociative disorders is that they hide, so it is likely that you may come to see me for depression or anxiety, and when we meet, you might have been previously diagnosed and treated for all kinds of disorders. It's okay, we will figure it out. It takes a lot of time and perseverance, but the worst is behind you.

— Chelle Epstein, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Miami, FL

Dissociative disorders are often missed in individuals. They may experience checking out, memory blanks, intense moments of anger, feeling that the world is not real, or not feeling like themselves all the time. Everyone has dissociative experiences, but some individuals are too familiar with dissociation. If dissociation is undiagnosed, it can often impede treatment progress. Knowing about your dissociation traits will help you understand your responses better and empower you in your healing!

— Heather Towndrow, Hypnotherapist in Price, UT
 

Dissociative disorders are often missed in individuals. They may experience checking out for periods of time, memory blanks, intense moments of anger, feeling that the world is not real, or not feeling like themselves all the time. Everyone has dissociative experiences, but some individuals are too familiar with dissociation, to the point where they feel they are not in control of themselves. If dissociation is undiagnosed, it can often impede treatment progress.

— Heather Towndrow, Hypnotherapist in Price, UT

It's natural and adaptive to avoid pain, but if we deal with it separately for too long we can lose touch with who we are. What was once a highly adaptive, life -saving strategy becomes a secret prison of shame and doubt. It's easy to get lost in the many faces that were created to survive. I see you and look forward to being a safe place for you to find peace, clarity and wholeness.

— Kerry Ogden, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
 

Being embodied allows us to experience all of our emotions, and tap into our holistic intelligence, in a way that brings out the best in us. Yet, many who grew up in abusive and neglectful homes learned the only way to protect themselves was to leave this crucial, vital awareness behind. We also live in a society that encourages intellectualization, robbing us of our heart-felt humanity. I work somatically to address this, getting clients out of the "talking chair" and engaging their whole self.

— Inga Larson, Counselor in Denver, CO

I have experience with, and passion for working with people who struggle with dissociation including Dissociative Amnesia, Depersonalization / Derealization, OSDD, and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

— Kristen Henshaw, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX
 

PTSD and dissociation go together like 'peas and carrots'. Most therapists are unaware of dissociation and do not know how to recognize or treat it. I assess all my clients for signs of traumatic dissociation, which can be relationally caused as well as caused from abuse and traumatic events. Healing proceeds through grounding and connection. I do not consider dissociative capacity pathological; it is a natural human gift found in abundance in highly creative and spiritual people.

— Susan Pease Banitt, in Portland, OR