Practice Guidelines for Identifying and Treating Complex Trauma-Related Dissociation
'Dissociative disorders are so common that it is essential for therapists to have undergone the trainings required for treating them; their prevalence is such that they cannot be left to
a few specialists' Schwarz, Corrigan et al., 2017:227.
Complex trauma-related dissociation underlies diverse presentations to health professionals and is often not detected. This means that many people do not receive appropriate responses and care. These Practice Guidelines for Identifying and Treating Complex Trauma-related Dissociation are for clinicians who work in a range of roles, come from different disciplines and have received diverse training but who want to enhance their ability to recognise and work with people experiencing complex trauma-related dissociation.
Part 1 presents the guidelines in two sections. Part A (`Foundational Knowledge’) provides the knowledge base needed for effective therapy for trauma-related dissociation. Awareness of key themes, principles, and concepts on the subject of dissociation assists responsible clinical practice. Yet health professional training does not usually feature information on the nature, process, and symptoms of dissociation. For this reason, this information is included here. It is a necessary prelude to the recommendations for practice which follow. Part B (`Clinical Application’) presents the `translation to practice’ of the material which precedes it.
Part 2 presents the research base which informs the guidelines. Chapter 1 (W'hat is Dissociation and Why do We Need to Know about It?') considers different readings of dissociation, and its different expressions. It introduces the topic of dissociation (and is reproduced from the updated 2019 Practice Guidelines for Clinical Treatment of Complex Trauma). While often associated with disorder, dissociation takes many forms - 'healthy and adaptive, pathological and self-protective' - and 'it makes a vast difference how and in what context dissociation is used'.
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