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Dissociation Treatment

Dissociation Treatment

We all mentally “check out” sometimes in life. Whether you’re part of the 50% of American workers who feel burned out at work or you struggle to stay present in your personal life, you’re not the only one.

But there’s a big difference between missing bits of a conversation and true dissociation. When left untreated, dissociation can be a sign that you have high levels of unprocessed emotion, and if left untreated symptoms can worsen and cause you to lose memory for longer and longer periods of time. It can also create problems in your relationships and your ability to complete day to day tasks.

There’s no need to stress, though. At Holistic Mental Health Counseling, our therapists are trained in several somatic modalities that can treat dissociation.

We’ll get to know you and your symptoms so we can help guide you. You won’t just learn to “deal with” things. You’ll work with us to get to the root cause and help you get ahead of any problematic symptoms.

What is Dissociation, and How Does It Relate to Mental Health?

Dissociation is when you involuntarily escape from the world around you by disconnecting from your identity, thoughts, memory, and/or consciousness. Physically you’re still present, but mentally, you’re somewhere else.

Dissociation often has a bit of a stigma, even though 75% of adults experience at least one dissociative event in their lives. And of those adults, only 2% have serious enough episodes to be formally diagnosed with a condition.

Basically, dissociation happens as a response to trauma or extreme stress. These painful memories can cause both mental and physical symptoms which impact your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. So, you subconsciously ‘bury’ or ‘hide’ certain details as a defense mechanism.

But the symptoms will still manifest one way or another. You may find yourself forgetting important personal information, or have entire gaps in your memory, for example.

And one of the best ways to truly recover is by processing these past traumas safely inside a somatic therapy session targeting dissociation with a counselor.

Common Causes and Triggers of Dissociation

Some of the common causes of dissociation are:

  • Chronic childhood trauma (such as repeated sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, including neglect)
  • Frightening or unstable home environments during childhood
  • Living through a natural disaster
  • Periods of intense stress or major exhaustion
  • Fighting in a war
  • Surviving being kidnapped and/or tortured

And the types of things that can trigger a new dissociative episode include:

  • Being confronted with aggressive behavior or angry facial expressions
  • Bright lights, loud or sudden noises, and general chaos/disorder
  • Feeling doubted, rushed, or ignored by a superior/authority figure
  • Anniversaries of past traumatic events
  • Big crowds and/or confined spaces

You may be surprised by how seemingly small details can bring up major traumatic events. This connection is exactly why managing dissociation on your own can be such a challenge.

When you work with one of our experienced dissociation therapists, you’ll identify your triggers and learn coping skills to help you effectively navigate daily life. You have the power to heal and live the life you deserve—all you need is support and guidance from a compassionate, expert counselor.

How Dissociation Treatment Works

Our dissociation treatment is completely customized to your experiences, symptoms, and goals. As a result, the exact path your therapy takes will depend on your unique needs. Our therapists are trained to gauge your readiness level and will meet you where you are at.

Generally speaking, though, here’s how dissociation therapy works:

  • During the initial session(s), your therapist gets to know your symptoms and personal history
  • You’ll then start focusing on identifying triggers and use the body as a roadmap to release stored trauma and anxiety 
  • As part of this process, you’ll also learn and practice coping skills to use whenever you’re triggered
  • Your therapist will suggest different techniques and modalities as they continue to learn about your needs and goals
  • You’ll check-in with yourself and evaluate your progress with your therapist over time
  • As you heal, it’s common to reduce the frequency of sessions or stop having regularly scheduled sessions

One last key thing to know about how dissociation treatment works is that you’ll have to put in effort. While your counselor will guide and support you, it’s up to you to use the skills you learn and fully participate during every session. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of therapy.

Effectiveness of Dissociation Counseling

One study of the long-term effectiveness of dissociation treatment found that 89% of patients either recovered or markedly reduced their symptoms after treatment ended.

The biggest thing to remember is that dissociation counseling combines several proven modalities to treat your specific symptoms. So, what you’re really looking at is the effectiveness of psychotherapy, grounding, somatic therapies like brainspotting and other long-standing, thoroughly researched methods.

Trauma therapy as a whole is somewhere between 77 – 97% effective, according to decades of studies.

Finally, you should consider the effectiveness of somatic therapy as well, which our entire clinic specializes in. This literal rewiring of your brain’s neural pathways is proven to be extremely effective for processing trauma and related symptoms.

Insurance and Costs for Dissociation Treatment

You’re not alone if you think of mental healthcare as unattainable or unaffordable. The truth is, higher than ever demand and a complex national system can make it hard to find an accessible dissociation therapist.

But with Holistic Mental Health Counseling, it doesn’t have to be this way. Our highest commitment is supporting your mental health in every way possible, including costs and payment. That’s why we strive to be the difference.

Whether you want to cover some of the cost with your insurance plan or you’ll be paying out-of-pocket / cash, we’ll make it as easy as possible.

If you receive out-of-network benefits through your insurance provider, it’s very likely we’re an approved out-of-network provider. These benefits typically cover 30 to 60% of each session’s cost. And if you plan to pay out-of-pocket, we’ll work with you privately to determine your pricing. Just contact us to find out more or get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine if I am experiencing dissociation?

Symptoms vary depending on the person and the specific disorder, but here are a few signs you may be experiencing dissociation:

  • Forgetting events or having gaps in your memory
  • Feeling like you or the world aren’t real
  • No longer noticing or feeling pain
  • Not remembering how you got somewhere
  • Hearing voices in your head, which may have their own identities
  • Sometimes feeling like you’re a different person
  • Feeling disconnected from the world and yourself

What are the goals of dissociation counseling?

The goals of dissociation counseling are to help you overcome past trauma, unpair triggering situations or people from setting off a dangerous response and learn adaptive responses to whatever triggers your dissociation.

How you’ll achieve these goals will depend on your unique condition and needs. When you work with a skilled dissociation therapist, they’ll custom tailor your sessions based on your specific symptoms and triggers.

Over time, your dissociative episodes will diminish as you learn new responses. You’ll also learn effective coping skills for whenever you have a future dissociation.

You see, these symptoms might seem like they’re protecting you from painful trauma or memories—at first. But they’re also preventing you from truly healing and moving forward. Dissociation counseling will help you reconcile these feelings so you can feel present and take control of your life.

Are there any potential risks or side effects associated with dissociation counseling?

The potential risks and side effects associated with dissociation treatment include:

  • Feeling more sensitive (emotionally and physically) during sessions
  • An initial uptick in recalling upsetting memories
  • Vivid dreams
  • New traumatic memories being brought to the surface
  • Feeling lightheaded

And keep in mind, these same potential side effects apply to any kind of therapy or treatment that relates to processing traumatic events.

Trauma isn’t just stored in your mind—it’s present in your body, too. Our dissociation therapists use somatic modalities, which impact both your mental and physical health. It’s normal, therefore, to experience a few mild side effects like heightened sensitivity.

Most importantly, remember that these things normally resolve as you continue treatment.

How can I find a qualified dissociation counselor or therapist?

You can find a qualified dissociation counselor or therapist by:

  1. Doing an online search for “dissociation treatment near me” or “dissociation therapist” followed by your city and state
  2. Using either a directory website or the website of each therapist to determine their trainings and specialty area
  3. Booking an initial session with whichever counselor seems like the best fit

This process may seem daunting, but we have good news. The fact that you’re reading this right now means you’ve already found a qualified dissociation therapist!

And at Holistic Mental Health Counseling, we also specialize in somatic dissociation treatment. Check out our Meet the Team page to get a feel for what our therapists have to offer or our instagram and other social profiles.

Somatic therapy is clinically proven to be extremely effective for many issues, especially those related to trauma (like dissociation). Think of it as body-focused treatment. We use psychotherapy and the connection between body and mind to help you heal on a much deeper level than with talk therapy alone.

Ready to learn more about our approach to dissociation treatment or book your first session? Just contact us now or call us at (917) 781-0041.