Developmental Pathways to Dissociation

Is early trauma the root cause of dissociative disorders?
Most of the literature and research on dissociation focuses on trauma as the root cause of dissociative disorders, and many studies show an association between dissociation and trauma (Putnam, 1997). “The fact that nontraumatized individuals sometimes demonstrate dissociation and that not all trauma survivors dissociate suggests that there may be more to the etiology and development of dissociation than trauma alone.” (Dutra, Bianchi, Siegel and Lyons-Ruth, 2009, p. 84). If early trauma is not the unique cause of dissociation, then what else could cause it?

Meeting Outreach and Treatment Needs after a Major Terrorist Attack
After the 2005 London Bombings

A recently published paper by Brewin, et al. (2010) describes “the usage, diagnoses and outcomes associated with the 2-year Trauma Response Programme (TRP) for those aected by the 2005 London bombings.” This terrifying series of bombings took place over 17 days in July 2005. The initial bombing on July 7 injured 775 and killed 52, the largest mass casualty event in the UK since the second World War.

Extinction or Reconsolidation
Differences between suppression and transformation in how we recover from traumatic experiences

Memory is central to all learned behavior, and in humans to one’s sense of identity. Sleep and memory processes are deeply entwined. Both are central to our sense of well-being. As Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth,

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast

Problems with memory processes (and with sleep) are at the root of one of the most pervasive problems in society, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those with PTSD suffer from memories they cannot escape nor resolve. They cannot escape into sleep because their memories follow them into recurrent nightmares.