Trauma Talks Series: What is Dissociation?

Dissociative Symptoms in Complex Trauma:

Memory Problems

Inconsistent memory, conflicting memories, or gaps in memory.

Unable to recall portions of childhood

Chronic forgetfulness

Depersonalization/ Derealization

Feeling foggy, spacey, or fuzzy

Feeling detached from self or body or emotions

Feeling disconnected from others

Environment feels unreal, strange, or distant

The sensation that one is watching oneself w/out control of their actions


Intrusive recollections of fragmented memories

Somatic Symptoms

Somatic experiences w/ no medical basis

Can affect body functioning, physical abilities

Body may be re-experiencing a past traumatic event


Episodes of staring off blankly

Unaware of what is going on around oneself

Retreating into deep fantasies

If you or someone you care about are experiencing these symptoms, there is help. Working with the nervous system, and gently moving from dissociation into realization will allow for adaptive integration. Trauma-informed evidence based therapies can be extremely helpful, including DBT, EMDR, Internal Family Systems (IFS), and attachment therapy.

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