The Dissociative Mind

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Routledge, May 13, 2013 - Psychology - 322 pages
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Drawing on the pioneering work of Janet, Freud, Sullivan, and Fairbairn and making extensive use of recent literature, Elizabeth Howell develops a comprehensive model of the dissociative mind. Dissociation, for her, suffuses everyday life; it is a relationally structured survival strategy that arises out of the mind’s need to allow interaction with frightening but still urgently needed others. For therapists dissociated self-states are among the everyday fare of clinical work and gain expression in dreams, projective identifications, and enactments. Pathological dissociation, on the other hand, results when the psyche is overwhelmed by trauma and signals the collapse of relationality and an addictive clinging to dissociative solutions.

Howell examines the relationship of segregated models of attachment, disorganized attachment, mentalization, and defensive exclusion to dissociative processes in general and to particular kinds of dissociative solutions. Enactments are reframed as unconscious procedural ways of being with others that often result in segregated systems of attachment. Clinical phenomena associated with splitting are assigned to a model of “attachment-based dissociation” in which alternating dissociated self-states develop along an axis of relational trauma. Later chapters of the book examine dissociation in relation to pathological narcissism; the creation and reproduction of gender; and psychopathy.

Elegant in conception, thoughtful in tone, broad and deep in clinical applications, Howell takes the reader from neurophysiology to attachment theory to the clinical remediation of trauma states to the reality of evil. It provides a masterful overview of a literature that extends forward to the writings of Bromberg, Stern, Ryle, and others. The capstone of contemporary understandings of dissociation in relation to development and psychopathology, The Dissociative Mind will be an adventure and an education for its many clinical readers.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
A Model of the Psyche
14
Unity and Multiplicity
38
Janet Freud Ferenczi and Fairbairn
49
Sullivan Bromberg Davies and FrawleyODea and Stern
92
Ryles Multiple Self States Model Van der Hart Nijenhuis and Steeles Theory of the Structural Dissociation of the Personality Hilgards Neodissociation...
121
6 Attachment Theory and Dissociation
147
A Different View of Splitting
161
9 Concepts of Psychic Processes Defense and Personality Organization
194
A Relational Aspect of Dissociation
219
The Role of Trauma and Dissociation in the Creation and Reproduction of Gender
229
When the Terrible Is True Not Only Are We Not Safe But More Important We Can No Longer Imagine
248
Endnotes
262
References
270
Index
294
Copyright

Blind Foresight
178

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About the author (2013)

A psychoanalyst and traumatologist who specializes in the treatment of dissociative disorders, Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is Associate Editor of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation and Co-Director of the Dissociative Disorders Psychotherapy Training Program of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. Dr. Howell is a faculty member of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies Trauma Studies Program and an adjunct associate professor in the psychology department of New York University. She has written and lectured widely on various aspects of trauma and dissociation.

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