Martha Stout - Dissociation

1178 words 5 pages
Dissociation is a protective mechanism that stimulates a person to enter into a detached state, in which the person is completely separated from his or her usual thought processes and memories. It is a state activated by one’s nervous system upon reaching maximum capacity to process the “real” stimuli around him or her, thus causing that person to lose track of time and find another representation of himself to continue in that moment. In “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, it was Friday,” author and clinical psychologist Martha Stout explains her view of sanity and dissociation by illustrating some experiences that her patients describe to her through several therapy sessions they have with her. With the use of her patients’ personal …show more content…

Even the ability to care for themselves is severely impaired. Dissociation can be a coping mechanism in the therapeutic sense because it may become a means for people to escape overwhelming thoughts and memories as well as excess internal distress. It helps patients overcome their inappropriate responses to stress and unbearable thoughts and memories in ways that involve meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and through the acknowledgment of these inappropriate reactions to their stress. Dissociation begins to act as a therapeutic coping mechanism even during childhood: “Because children dissociate readily even in ordinary circumstances, when they encounter traumatic situations, they easily split their consciousness into pieces…may in fact be lifesaving. And thanks be to the normal human mind that it provides the means.” (Pg. 391) One of the author’s patients, Seth, recognizes his dissociation and the way his mind responds to the reality around him: “Some extreme trauma survivors recognize that they are dissociative…Many times, an individual will realize that at some point in adulthood that she or he has had a lifelong pattern of being ‘away’ a grievously large portion of the time.” (Pg. 395) Even though it helps Seth cope and regroup, he thinks he may be even able to stop it or