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How to deal with dissociation

Posted by Ri Ferrier

959 Days Ago


The term dissociation describes a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from your immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from a specific physical and emotional experience. It can be a powerful conscious skill that we choose to do temporarily, but more often we will dissociate unconsciously and get caught there....

The major characteristic of dissociation involves a detachment from reality.  In mild cases, dissociation can include things like daydreaming whilst driving a car (something that all of us have no doubt done!). Further along the continuum are non-pathological altered states of consciousness such as a sense that the world is unreal, a loss of memory, forgetting identity or complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dissociative disorders are sometimes triggered by trauma, but may be preceded only by stress, or even no identifiable trigger at all. Due to their unexpected and largely inexplicable nature, they tend to be quite unsettling.

Often in a cranial session, the practitioner will sense that the client is not present in their body.  There will be a lack of congruence between what is spoken verbally and what the body says.  There will be a sense of a walled-off part of the body - together with a condensed amount of energy needed to sustain this walling-off.

So what tools do we practitioners use to relate to a dissociated client, how do we meet someone in stress and overwhelm? Here are my top ten tips:

  • Be settled and present ourselves

  • Acknowledging what is and not trying to fix it

  • Breathing with awareness and thus enabling the resonant field to expand

  • Negotiating space with the client

  • Ensuring physical comfort is maintained and bringing awareness to felt body-sensations

  • Shuttling our attention between the three tides

  • Pacing the session at the rate unique to the client

  • Using verbal skills to help unfold the situation

  • Keeping it simple

  • Trusting the tides

After all, something that is authentic and true lets the energy move, and enables harmony to be restored.

Ri Ferrier

Article written by Ri Ferrier - Tetbury

I am enthusiastic and passionate about making a difference in the world, especially in the lives of children and teenagers. Walking in a way of gentleness and beauty on the Earth is very important to me, and I absolutely love the gentle approach to well-being that is offered by Craniosacral therapy.... [read more]

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