Deeply disturbing things happen to people of all sorts and ages, and in all places. This has always been the case. What happens next is our subject here.
We offer here credible information about psychological trauma and dissociation disorders, as well as the mental health problems commonly associated with them.
Why credible? Because we offer careful source citations, utilizing primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Our sources are based on empirical studies, when available, and theoretical models having high internal validity when such studies have yet to be done.
This resource website is in the early stages of its development. What you will find here is just a small proportion of the valuable information we have to share, much of which is still in preparation for publication.
Rape - it’s effectively decriminalized in England and Wales ^ - Today in England and Wales, an estimated 300 women will be raped. About 170 of those cases will be reported to the police. But only three are likely to make it to a court of law….As a former senior police detective, now criminologist, I regard the rate at which rape cases fall by the wayside at every stage of the criminal process as the greatest scandal facing our justice system. As public confidence continues to plummet, leading to ever-greater reluctance to report sexual assaults and rapes, I want to explain what’s going so badly wrong. (…more)
Book review: Resolving the anxiety dilemma - Dylan M. Kollman ^ - Anxiety is your friend…until it isn’t, at which point you will do well to have this book at hand. Think of anxiety as a kind of global watchdog. When it barks, you do well to pay attention. Storm coming? Better close the windows. Knock at the door? Better consider who it might be before opening. This just makes sense.
But how exactly do we “pay close attention” in a way that is helpful? Psychologist Dylan Kollman offers a highly readable, practical, evidence-based answer to that question. But what if you are anxious simply because the weather is variable, or because your house has a door? This dysfunctional anxiety achieves no useful purpose. You have two choices at this point: suffer or address the issue. (…more)
Essential Internet resources ^ - The emergence of the world-wide Internet in the past 30 years has utterly transformed communication for all who have access to it and know how to use it. At the same time, it presents many people with a serious problem: how to tell reliable information from unreliable and clearly erroneous information. When one’s need for information is urgent, this problem is all the more critical.
On this page you will find resources that have been rigorously screened for reliability - as much as this is possible. The final screening must be done by the individual information seeker. Blind trust is never advised. Be cautious and thoughtful in considering any information offered to you by someone else, regardless of their intentions or reputation. (…more)
Finding a good therapist ^ - The key to finding a good therapist is YOU - what you know about yourself, what you want to do about it, and how you act to bring about personal change. While we cannot offer any “sure-fire” formula to solve this problem, there are things you can do that will probably help you significantly in your search. Your quality of life is the central concern here, so it’s only sensible to proceed slowly and deliberately.
A good therapist is one who helps you get the changes you want in your life. It’s that simple. Finding that therapist may NOT be simple, however. To help you solve this problem, we discuss here some of the difficulties you will face, and some ways people we know have found to work through these challenges. (…more)
Threat detection can be an automatic, unconscious brain activity ^ - New research indicates that a crucial part of our brain detects faces expressing fear without our conscious awareness of them. There are obvious adaptive advantages to possessing this skill, but for individuals struggling with trauma and dissociation disorders this indicates an additional source of stress that needs to be managed intelligently.
While previous research has shown that a key part of the mid-brain - the amygdala - is activated when there is unconscious perception of fearful faces, there has been no real-time observation of this activity until now. (…more)
Ground yourself, to stop dissociation and emotional pain ^ - You can eliminate emotional disturbance and dysfunctional dissociation by creating and enhancing calm awareness of your surroundings. This simple “conscious orienting” procedure is quick and reliable. It will teach you a lot about how feelings work in our brain.
Use this simple procedure to shift your focus to harmless things in your environment. This will calm you and increase awareness of your present surroundings when you are having troubles with being “spacey” (dissociative).
This happens because if you do the procedure right it moves your attention away from something that is bothering you - perhaps something traumatic to remember or think about - to a series of things that are real and yet harmless, and which demand your full awareness. The result will be that your attention will become attached to “right here — right now”. You can then get on with living the life in front of you. (…more)
LGBTQ in America? That’s dangerous! ^ - In our recent analysis of the National Crime Victimization Survey, we found that the odds of being a violent hate crime victim for LGBTQ people was nine times greater than it was for cisgender and straight people from 2017 to 2019. There were an average annual 6.6 violent hate crime victimizations per 1,000 LGBTQ people during this three year period. In contrast, there were 0.6 violent hate crime victimizations per 1,000 cisgender and straight people. (…more)
Organic rule outs ^ - When we feel bad, we may tend to look for psychological causes of our distress - focusing on our current relationships or problems in our personal history. We too often forget that our mind is easily influenced by the condition of the body it lives in. The concerns listed below address this problem quickly and can lead to an appropriate improvement or solution to our mental distress. Only after working through this brief list of possible organic causes of mental dis-ease is it appropriate to consider possible psychological factors. (…more)
Children must be protected in their earliest years ^ - More than one-third of the population experiences adversity in childhood — including abuse, neglect or family violence — leaving hundreds of thousands in need of treatment. Predictably, as clinical psychologists, we both recommend psychotherapy to minimize the consequences of adverse childhoods. However, an even greater concern is how, in addition to reducing the suffering it causes, chronic childhood adversity can be prevented from flooding our health-care system.
Recent advances in research on human development, and brain science in particular, have revealed that traumatic childhood literally changes the human body. It affects brain development, the programming of our stress response system and is even passed on to the next generation. (…more)
“This public health hazard hides in plain sight. ^ - Every day we are exposed to things like pollution and ultraviolet light which increase our risk of illness. Many people take on additional risks — due to tobacco smoke, fast food or alcohol, for example. But there is a less-recogized exposure that is even more common than smoking and increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung diseases, sexually transmitted infections, chronic pain, mental illness and reduces one’s life by as much as 20 years.” ..more
Anxiety and mindfulness meditation ^ - Mindfulness meditation has been suggested by a variety of sources for some time as a way of reducing or eliminating anxiety. We now have published the first randomized clinical trial comparing mindfulness to a common antianxiety medication (Lexapro). Results indicate that the two interventions produce equivalent results. Mindfulness meditation can have an immediate effect due to its refocusing one’s attention away from anxiety-producing thoughts and in the direction of harmless things like body sensations and breathing. However, the full effect often takes some time to emerge. (…more)
Below are some excerpts from information, documents, and articles also available here. Browse, explore, and learn. Much more is coming very soon…
“Do you “believe your feelings”? ^ It’s almost instinctual for us to do this, but it can lead to disaster. This is especially true for those who are experiencing high anxiety or even panic. If you’re in that group, you must first consider whether or not your feelings have a basis in reality.” ..more
“What can you expect here?… ^ You can expect a strong attempt to achieve credibility in what we offer, by making clear the reasons for our assertions. We will refer at times to careful arguments in favor of certain strategies and tactics, and will seek always to stand on a foundation of the best research currently available, PLUS an honest evaluation of the quality of this research.” ..more
“The current status of mental health care compels us to act… ^ Too many treatment decisions are made, and historically have been made, on a very modest evidence base. This has been a problem in health care in general, for years, but to continue this practice in areas of mental health when we actually have a good evidence base is unacceptable. So one of our concerns is to lay out what we now know about treatment of learned emotional reactions such as the trauma disorders (Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder). We want to make it as clear as possible that we now have this knowledge.”
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page author: Tom Cloyd | reviewed 2023-03-31:1934 PT