The sound of rape 

The sound of rape – and dissociating.

When an every day event turns horribly wrong.

(No graphic details)

Forging a Deeper Understanding of Flashbacks: Part II

Understanding Flashbacks: Part II – from Paul F. Dell

Understanding Dissociation

Flashbacks have at least four striking features:

1. Flashbacks are experiential, marked by a sense of reliving, accompanied by sensations and affects).

2. Flashbacks are distinctly fragmentary.

3. Flashbacks are autonomous and involuntary.

4. Flashbacks are frequently associated with dissociative amnesia.

In this post, I will focus solely on the first of these — the experiential/reliving quality of flashbacks.

Why Are Flashbacks Experiential Rather Than Cognitive?

Perhaps the best current answer to this question comes from Chris Brewin in England (Brewin, Gregory, Lipton & Burgess, 2010). Brewin is one of the leading cognitive psychologists in the world. He has been studying PTSD and its intrusive symptoms for the last 15 years or so (see also Brewin, Dalgleich & Joseph, 1996). Brewin proposes that humans have two memory systems for episodic and autobiographical memory: (1) a contextual memory system that represents an event via abstract, contextually-bound…

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Complex PTSD – does it always stem from childhood?

Trauma therapist Sara Staggs recently interviewed Dr Bethany Brand about the link between Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Dr Brand is a world class expert on research into Dissociative Disorders, and their treatment.


Complex PTSD - always from childhood?

Dr Brand also talks about how she first became involved in the treatment of people with dissociative disorders.

Read more from the interview…

Related articles
Complex PTSD (

Other specified dissociative disorder (

Dissociative Identity Disorder (

Treatment Of Patients with Dissociative Disorders (TOP DD) , Dr Brand’s current research

Publications by the TOP DD team

Dissociation within PTSD – evidence

Dissociation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Evidence from the World Mental Health Surveys

The DSM-5 added a new dissociative subtype of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) last year, but before this was finalized there were concerns that the majority of the evidence for the dissociative subtype of PTSD came from Western counties. The research described here consisted of interviews with over 25,000 respondents across 16 countries in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys in order to assess whether this differed between low/middle and high income countries, and whether this was consistent across a diverse set of countries.

The results showed that dissociative symptoms within PTSD did not differ between high and low/middle income countries after 12 months. Dissociative symptoms were present in over 14% of those with PTSD, and were associated with a number of different factors including more re-experiencing symptoms (for example, flashbacks), high exposure to prior trauma, suicidality and childhood onset of PTSD.

Full abstract of findings:…/abstract

Published in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 73, Issue 4, Pages 302-312. 15 February 2013

Related articlesKeep Calm PTSD awareness

Dissociative Identity Disorder – a discovery from 1584

As part of the research we’re doing into the history of dissociative identity disorder, dissociation and trauma we have been reading early historical accounts of people with multiple identities/personalities. This week we make a discovery that cases go back even further than Paracelsus’s 1646 account, with a detailed description of a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder living in 1584-1885, in France.

Jeanne Fery - the first documented case of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Jeanne Fery – the first documented case of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Onno Van der Hart, Ruth Lierens, and Jean Goodwin have provided the first translation into account of her experiences to be written in English. They described how her symptoms matched the clinical criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder, as a psychotraumatologist and former president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (which publishes the DID treament guidelines) and the International Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Van der Hart is clearly well qualified to make this judgement based on the very extensive accounts of this person’s experience.

What is especially interesting in this case is the great detail used to describe her alter personalities, and their roles. It is brings home the reality of living with DID, describing her abuse history and obvious distress.

History of DID