In this video, I speak about what I learned last night in PTSD trauma recovery group on the distinctions between dissociation and detachment.
Some thoughts on Dissociation vs. Emotional Detachment:
1. Dissociation is really an involuntary process of the mind to protect us, whereas, on some level, emotional detachment can be intentional. Dissociation is being emotionally disconnected and not present, where detachment is more like being distracted and not fully present (but still somewhat present).
2. Emotional detachment can be likened to “numbing” one’s feelings by avoiding being with an emotion because it feels too overwhelming or painful.
3. Both of these coping skills are often associated with having experienced trauma in the past. Emotional detachment can also be related to other anxiety and stress disorders.
4. Sometimes, when we are emotionally detaching, we may appear present to others in the cognitive sense (speaking logically) but our emotional affect may be lacking. (Think of the character Data in Star Trek.)
5. Grounding skills can be helpful with both issues. Acknowledging where you are, what you’re feeling, what all of your senses are taking in, can be very helpful.
Do you experience dissociation and/or emotional detachment? How do you cope effectively?
Hope this helps.