Traumatic Dissociation: Neurobiology and Treatment offers an advanced introduction to this symptom, process, and pattern of personality organization seen in several trauma-related disorders, including acute stress disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the dissociative disorders. Our understanding of traumatic dissociation has recently been advanced by neuroimaging technology, empirically-based investigation, and an acknowledgment of its importance in psychopathology. The authors of this volume tie ...

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Traumatic Dissociation: Neurobiology and Treatment

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Traumatic Dissociation: Neurobiology and Treatment offers an advanced introduction to this symptom, process, and pattern of personality organization seen in several trauma-related disorders, including acute stress disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the dissociative disorders. Our understanding of traumatic dissociation has recently been advanced by neuroimaging technology, empirically-based investigation, and an acknowledgment of its importance in psychopathology. The authors of this volume tie these findings together, tracking the condition from its earliest historical conceptualization to its most recent neurobiological understanding to provide even greater insight into traumatic dissociation and its treatment.

Bringing together for the first time theoretical, cognitive, and neurobiological perspectives on traumatic dissociation, this volume is designed to provide both empirical and therapeutic insights by drawing on the work of many of the main contributors to the field. Opening chapters examine historical, conceptual, and theoretical issues and how other fields, such as cognitive psychology, have been applied to the study of traumatic dissociation. The following section focuses specifically on how neurobiological investigations have deepened our understanding of dissociation and concluding chapters explore issues pertinent to the assessment and treatment of traumatic dissociation. The interacting effects of traumatic experience, developmental history, neurobiological function, and specific vulnerabilities to dissociative processes that underlie the occurrence of traumatic dissociation are among some of the key issues covered. The book's significant contributions include • A review of cognitive experimental findings on attention and memory functioning in dissociative identity disorder• An appreciation of how the literature on hypnosis provides a greater understanding of perceptual processing and traumatic stress• Ascertaining symptoms of dissociation in a military setting and in other situations of extreme stress• An outline of key issues for planning assessment of traumatic dissociation, including a critique of its primary empirically supported standardized measures• An examination of the association between child abuse or neglect and the development of eating disorders, suggesting ways to therapeutically deal with negative body experience to reduce events that trigger dissociation• A description of neuroendocrine alterations associated with stress, pointing toward a better understanding of the developmental effects of deprivation and trauma on PTSD and dissociation• A review of the relation of attachment and dissociation• A discussion of new research findings in the neuroimaging of dissociation and a link between cerebellar functioning and specific peritraumatic experiences

Useful as a clinical reference or as ancillary textbook, Traumatic Dissociation reorganizes phenomenological observations that have been overlooked, misunderstood, or neglected in traditional training. The research and clinical experience described here will provide the basis for further clinical and theoretical formulations of traumatic dissociation and will advance empirical examination and treatment of the phenomenon.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Reviewer:Steven T. Herron, MD(University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description:Complied by various clinicians and researchers in the specialized area of dissociation, this book attempts to identify the most up-to-date phenomenological and biological information in this area.
Purpose:Given that there is much still unknown about the process of dissociation, this book was penned to clarify what is known or what has been learned about this phenomenon since it first became an accepted psychological and psychiatric concept, and to identify what remains elusive about this process.
Audience:The main audience will be those specifically interested in dissociation, whether in a clinical capacity as it relates to patients, or in investigating the phenomena from a research perspective.
Features:Divided into three sections, this book addresses a wide variety of topics, including conceptual understandings of dissociation, the neurobiology behind the process, and implications for assessment and treatment. The second section contains color pictures of some neuroimaging studies regarding dissociation, and a small number of diagrams, figures, tables, and graphs are used throughout the remainder.
Assessment:This book attempts to compile the most current knowledge about dissociation, and while there are likely others that address similar topics, this one does so relatively completely and concisely. While the book does not flow well (due to the lack of consistency among authors of the chapters), there are some particular highlights, including the chapter on dissociative identity disorder. However, for clinicians, themost disappointing chapter is likely to be the one related to the treatment of traumatic dissociation, especially in the area of psychopharmacologic methods. A more thorough review of the literature and a much more detailed discussion of this topic would be appropriate given the level of uncertainty among many clinicians working with this patient population.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585627141
  • Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/3/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 398
  • Product dimensions: 0.60 (w) x 0.90 (h) x 0.10 (d)
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Eric Vermetten, M.D., Ph.D., is Head of Research for Military Mental Health at Central Military Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University Medical Center Utrecht in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Martin J. Dorahy, Ph.D., is Clinical and Research Psychologist at the Trauma Resource Centre, North & West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, and Research Tutor in the School of Psychology at The Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

David Spiegel, M.D., is Jack, Lulu, and Sam Wilson Professor at the School of Medicine, Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Medical Director at the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University in Stanford, California.

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Table of Contents

Contributors. Preface. Introduction. Part I: Conceptual Domain of Dissociation. Relationship between trauma and dissociation: a historical analysis. Attachment, disorganization, and dissociation. Memory and attentional processes in dissociative identity disorder: a review of the empirical literature. Relationships between dissociation and posttraumatic stress disorder. Perceptual processing and traumatic stress: contributions from hypnosis. Part II: Neurobiology of Trauma and Dissociation. Translational research issues in dissociation. Neuroendocrine markers of early trauma: implications for posttraumatic stress disorders. Symptoms of dissociation in healthy military populations: why and how do war fighters differ in response to intense stress? Peritraumatic dissociation: time perception and cerebellar regulation of psychological, interpersonal, and biological processes. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptom provocation and neuroimaging: heterogeneity of response. Psychobiology of traumatization and trauma-related structural dissociation of the personality. Part III: Contemporary Implications for Assessment and Treatment. Psychiatric approaches to dissociation: integrating history, biology, and clinical assessment. Psychological assessment of posttraumatic dissociation. Dissociative identity disorder: issues in the iatrogenesis controversy. Applications of innate affect theory to the understanding and treatment of dissociative identity disorder. Trauma, dissociation, and impulse dyscontrol: lessons from the eating disorders field. Treatment of traumatic dissociation. Afterword. Index.

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