Peritraumatic dissociation Draft 2024

Understanding Dissociation


What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is a natural response of the central nervous system to intense physical harm, fear, or terror that we cannot avoid, escape, or shield ourselves from. It involves a partial or complete disruption of normal integration of conscious and psychological functioning. During dissociation, individuals may lose the ability to feel physical pain, shed tears, access or express emotions, communicate, or interact with others. This state results in a disconnection from physical bodies and emotions.

Dissociation in Wildlife

In the wild, animals facing predators engage fully in their flight mechanisms until captured. At that moment, their bodies instantly become limp—a protective response akin to dissociation in humans.


Peritraumatic Dissociation


Understanding Peritraumatic Dissociation

Peritraumatic dissociation refers to dissociation experienced at the time of trauma. Studies show it increases the risk of chronic PTSD and posttraumatic symptoms, independent of trauma severity.

Impact of Early Peritraumatic Dissociation

Experiencing peritraumatic dissociation in childhood can permanently alter the boundaries between conscious and subconscious mind levels. This can lead to habitual retreat into dissociative states during uncomfortable experiences in adulthood.

Symptoms and Consequences

Symptoms of dissociation resulting from trauma include depersonalization, psychological numbing, disengagement, and amnesia. While effective in the short term, long-term dissociation is linked to decreased psychological functioning and adjustment. It often coexists with conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and substance abuse.


Healing with Hypnotherapy


Role of Hypnotherapy in Peritraumatic Dissociation

Hypnotherapy helps identify and reframe Initial Sensitizing Events (ISEs), significant emotional events often unnoticed in adult consciousness but impactful in childhood. By reframing these events at the subconscious level, hypnotherapy facilitates healing from trauma wounds.

Share this post

About Genvièv St. Clair

GENVIÈV ST. CLAIR, Fellow and Former President of the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association, is an award-winning Board Certified Instructor with the NGH.

A Valedictorian from the Ivy League University of the Sorbonne in Paris, she graduated summa cum laude from the department of doctorates of one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. With specialized training in forensic discovery, and years of expertise in the medical and legal fields, she acted as a communication liaison in complex and critical situations, including duties for the Department of Homeland Security, the US court system, and leading medical centers.

Featured on Discovery Channel, radio and television programs worldwide, Genvièv is the author of Zen in the Art of Survival, published in the best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, as well as Diving into the Unsolved Mysteries of the Mind, Make a Friend of Fear, Meditation in Motion, Life Line, The Gift, Emotions, and countless magazine columns and articles on performance, achievement and success. Her story is featured in Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul – Motivation to get over the hump and on the road to a better life. She produces an educational health and wellness series on YouTube.

Skip to content