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adulthood

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Dissociation is still a very controversial subject in the field of mental health because it is so routinely equated with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). However, if dissociation is looked at instead as we would any other mental state phenomenon, we will see that all human beings dissociate, and much of our dissociativeness is adaptive. Dissociation is a disconnection between a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of who he or she is. This is a normal process that everyone has experienced. Examples of mild, common dissociation include daydreaming, highway hypnosis, or “getting lost” in a book or movie, all of which involve “losing touch” with awareness of one’s immediate surroundings. Tragically, ongoing traumatic conditions such as sexual abuse, community violence, war, or painful medical procedures are not one-time events.  For people repeatedly exposed to these experiences, especially in childhood, dissociation is an extremely effective coping “skill.” However, it can…