Dissociation is essentially an in-built defense mechanism that protects us from various forms of trauma, including abusive relationships, incidences of violence, addiction, etc. Dissociation is very common in children who haven’t yet developed coping mechanisms to handle such trauma. Once they’ve learned to better manage bad experiences, they usually stop dissociating.

Any time an individual separates a specific memory from its various components, they are dissociating. Separating words, sensations, pain, things they’ve smelled and tasted from the memory are all a part of dissociation.

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For example, a woman who got out of an abusive relationship may only remember the good in the relationship and forget the bad after it’s over.

Because dissociation is an innate mechanism, many going through it don’t even realize it’s happening, therefore accounts of violent incidents and abusive behavior lack clarity.

Be Understanding

When dissociating, people aren’t themselves. They won’t respond the way you would usually expect them to. You can ask them about how you can help but they probably wouldn’t know the answer themselves. If they do begin to open up about an experience, listen carefully with acceptance and without judgment.

Intimacy and touching are difficult for people that are dissociating, so be understanding and give them space.

Keep Them Safe

Most psychological issues have triggers, and dissociation isn’t any different. There are specific triggers that will prompt flashbacks and other dissociative symptoms. By recognizing their triggers, you can keep them safe. If there is going to be a situation where they’re going to come face to face with their triggers, you can prepare them in advance.

Help Them Find Support

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People that are dissociating feel alone and misunderstood. You may not be able to help them, but others might. Is there anyone your loved one does respond to normally? If yes, ask them to spend time together.

Regardless of whether there are people they respond to, you should definitely take them to an experienced therapist in alabama. Psychotherapy can help your loved ones process their thoughts and develop healthy coping mechanisms. With the guidance of a psychodynamic therapist, they can navigate through their traumatic experience and fill in the gaps.

With regular therapy, you can lessen dissociation and use healthier coping techniques.

David Myers is an experienced psychodynamic therapist based in Birmingham, Alabama. He provides psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy and relationship counseling for people living in Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Mt. Brook, and nearby areas.

Call him at (205) 251-8808 or email info@davidemyersphd.com to book an appointment.

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