Why Do We Dissociate?

Many people commonly ask why do we dissociate? Dissociation is a complex process that occurs internally and unconsciously. Our ability to dissociate is largely managed by the nervous system and its ability to regulate given factors in our environment.

Nervous System Evolution

Throughout the millennia the human body has experienced slow, but ever-changing evolution and adaption to our environment. One of the ways our bodies have done this is by developing a nervous system that can respond unconsciously to threat, stress, and overwhelm. Through this evolutionary process, our nervous system can help keep us safe and preserve our life.

The nervous system utilizes neuroception to sense danger or threat.  Neuroception occurs in three different areas. The first area is within the body. The second is between person to person, and the last area of neurocpetion applies to scanning the environment for danger.

Nervous System’s Response to Trauma

The nervous system responds to trauma, stress, or overwhelm via fight, flight, freeze or collapse, and also appeasement. Trauma, stress, or overwhelm then create rigidity within the nervous system. Thus, the nervous system cannot flexibly respond to stressors due to its rigidity or stiffness. This is how trauma symptoms become ingrained in someone’s life.

Nervous System Dysregulation

When our nervous systems are rigid, they cannot flex to meet unique situations adequately. This means that people can have the wrong type of response when future traumas or stressors arise. Another way to say this is that if the nervous system is dysregulated then someone can respond incorrectly to a traumatic situation.

Ways to Heal the Nervous System

Finding ways to regulate the nervous system can help to reduce dissociative symptoms.

The beautiful thing to take away from this blog post is that the nervous system can heal. Through trauma therapy, the elasticity within the nervous system can be restored. Depending on the type of trauma, i.e. single trauma incidents, multiple combat deployments, child sexual abuse, or chronic traumatization as a child, will impact the length of time needed to heal.

Two powerful, bottom-up trauma therapies include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapies.  EMDR therapy focuses on reinitiating the body’s innate ability to heal. While SE focus in on allowing the body to complete and discharge frozen energy from past traumas.

EMDR Therapist Near WI

Finding an individual EMDR therapist that is informed by SE interventions can be a challenge. I encourage you to utilize the free consultation calls that most Kenosha therapists offer. This will ensure you match with the right mental health professional. If you’d like to talk more about starting EMDR therapy near WI, click here to schedule a free consultation or give us a call today at 720.295.6703. We look forward to hearing from you!

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