Skip to main content

An Experiential Approach to Dissociative Phenomena

  • 1067 Accesses

Abstract

This chapter presents experiential features of dissociative phenomena that might have diagnostic, psychotherapeutic, and research implications. The introductory section discusses the case of Eduard a 21-year-old patient who suffers from trace and state forms of dissociative phenomena, in particular depersonalization and derealization. His clinical case shows how these phenomena can cause severe mental distress and how neurology and psychiatry presently deride them at both diagnostic and treatment levels. In Sect. 5.2, we provide a conceptual exegesis of these phenomena in psychiatric literature discussing psychopathological blurs and inconsistencies of this umbrella term and suggesting possible improvements to the epistemology of these phenomena. For that, we draw two representations discussed across the two ensuing sections: Sect. 5.3 Dissociative phenomena through the prism of subjective experience of self (disruptions at physical, pre-reflexive, and narrative experiential levels) and Sect. 5.4 dissociative phenomena through the prism of perceptual experience (perception of reality, perception of pathic dimension, and corporal dimension of the body). These two sections cover an account of the phenomena/experiences that can have the label of “dissociative” and focusing on Eduard’s case, their conceptual and phenomenological features. Far more experiences than those presented by Eduard are discussed stressing that various constellations can occur under the topic of dissociative phenomena (and the particularity of Eduard’s case). Finally Sect. 5.5 presents a discussion on the clinical implications of these epistemological and phenomenological inputs, including their diagnostic and psychotherapeutic value.

Keywords

  • Dissociative experiences
  • Subjective symptoms
  • Psychopathology
  • Person-centered

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-29945-7_5
  • Chapter length: 16 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-29945-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  • APA. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.), DSM-5. American Psychiatric Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baker, D., Hunter, E., Lawrence, E., et al. (2003). Depersonalisation disorder: Clinical features of 204 cases. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 182, 428–433. doi:10.1192/bjp.182.5.428.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bennouna-Greene, M., Berna, F., Conway, M. A., et al. (2012). Self-images and related autobiographical memories in schizophrenia. Consciousness and Cognition, 21, 247–257. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2011.10.006.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cermolacce, M., Naudin, J., & Parnas, J. (2007). The “minimal self” in psychopathology: Re-examining the self-disorders in the schizophrenia spectrum. Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 703–714. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2007.05.013.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fuchs, T., & Schlimme, J. E. (2009). Embodiment and psychopathology: A phenomenological perspective. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 22, 570. doi:10.1097/YCO.0b013e3283318e5c.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Fusar-Poli, P., Howes, O., Valmaggia, L., & McGuire, P. (2008). “Truman” signs and vulnerability to psychosis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 193, 168. doi:10.1192/bjp.193.2.168.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher, S. (2013). The Oxford handbook of the self. OUP Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher, S., & Shear, J. (1999). Models of the self. Thorverton: Imprint Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallagher, S., Watson, S., Brun, P., & Romanski, P. (2004). Ipseity and alterity. Publication Universite Rouen Havre.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hilgard, E. R. (1973). A neodissociation interpretation of pain reduction in hypnosis. Psychological Review, 80, 396–411.

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holmes, E. A., Brown, R. J., Mansell, W., et al. (2005). Are there two qualitatively distinct forms of dissociation? A review and some clinical implications. Clinical Psychology Review, 25, 1–23. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2004.08.006.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • James, W. (1950). The principles of psychology (Vol. 1). New York: Dover Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Janet, P. (2012). L’automatisme Psychologique 1889 (French ed.). Ulan Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kihlstrom, J. F. (1994). One hundred years of hysteria. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kimura, B. (2003). Disturbance of timing and selfhood in schizophrenia. Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi, 105, 729–732.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Krüger, C., & Mace, C. J. (2002). Psychometric validation of the State Scale of Dissociation (SSD). Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice (formerly the British Journal of Medical Psychology), 75(1), 33–51.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Legrand, D. (2007). Pre-reflective self-as-subject from experiential and empirical perspectives. Consciousness and Cognition, 16, 583–599. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2007.04.002.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lynn, S. J., & Rhue, J. W. (1994). Dissociation: Clinical and theoretical perspectives. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merleau-Ponty, M. (1980). The nature of perception. Research in Phenomenology, 10, 9–20.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mishara, A. L. (2010). Klaus Conrad (1905-1961): Delusional mood, psychosis, and beginning schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 36, 9–13. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbp144.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nordgaard, J., Revsbech, R., Saebye, D., & Parnas, J. (2012). Assessing the diagnostic validity of a structured psychiatric interview in a first-admission hospital sample. World Psychiatry, 11, 181–185.

    CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Parnas, J., Handest, P., Saebye, D., & Jansson, L. (2003). Anomalies of subjective experience in schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar illness. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 108, 126–133. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0447.2003.00105.x.

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Parnas, J., Møller, P., Kircher, T., et al. (2005). EASE: Examination of anomalous self-experience. Psychopathology, 38, 236–258. doi:10.1159/000088441.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Prince, M. (2012). The dissociation of a personality; a biographical study in abnormal psychology. Hardpress Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Putnam, F. W. (1989). Diagnosis and treatment of multiple personality disorder (Foundations of modern psychiatry) (1st ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ratcliffe, M., & Stephan, A. (2014). Depression, emotion and the self. Andrews UK Limited.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosenthal, H. (2009). Dissociation and the dissociative disorders: DSM-V and beyond (1st ed.). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sartre, J-P. (1993). Being and nothingness, Reprint. New York: Washington Square Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sass, L., Pienkos, E., Nelson, B., & Medford, N. (2013). Anomalous self-experience in depersonalization and schizophrenia: A comparative investigation. Consciousness and Cognition, 22, 430–441. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2013.01.009.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Saxe, G. N., Van der Kolk, B. A., & Berkowitz, R. (1993). Dissociative disorders in psychiatric inpatients. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 150(7), 1037–42.

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Scheler, M. (1992). On feeling, knowing, and valuing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sierra, M., & Berrios, G. E. (2001). The phenomenological stability of depersonalization: Comparing the old with the new. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 189, 629–636.

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sierra, M., Medford, N., Wyatt, G., & David, A. S. (2012). Depersonalization disorder and anxiety: A special relationship? Psychiatry Research, 197, 123–127. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2011.12.017.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stanghellini, G. (2004). Disembodied spirits and deanimated bodies: The psychopathology of common sense (international perspectives in philosophy and psychiatry) (1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Stanghellini, G., Ballerini, M., Poli, P. F., & Cutting, J. (2012). Abnormal bodily experiences may be a marker of early schizophrenia? Current Pharmaceutical Design, 18, 392–398.

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stanghellini, G., Bertelli, M., & Raballo, A. (2006). Typus melancholicus: Personality structure and the characteristics of major unipolar depressive episode. Journal of Affective Disorders, 93, 159–167. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.03.005.

    CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stanghellini, G., Bolton, D., & Fulford, W. K. M. (2013). Person-centered psychopathology of schizophrenia: Building on Karl Jaspers’ understanding of patient’s attitude toward his illness. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 39, 287–294. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbs154.

    CrossRef  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Stanghellini, G., & Fuchs, T. (2013). One Century of Karl Jaspers' General Psychopathology (International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry) (1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thorne, B., & Lambers, E. (1998). Person-centred therapy: A European perspective. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Waller, N. G., & Ross, C. A. (1997). The prevalence and biometric structure of pathological dissociation in the general population: Taxometric and behavior genetic findings. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 499–510.

    CAS  CrossRef  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Waller, N., Waller, N., Putnam, F. W., et al. (1996). Types of dissociation and dissociative types: A taxometric analysis of dissociative experiences. Psychological Methods, 1, 300–321. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.1.3.300.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • World Health Organization. (1992). The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Geneva: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Luis Madeira .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Madeira, L., Figueira, M.L. (2016). An Experiential Approach to Dissociative Phenomena. In: Stanghellini, G., Aragona, M. (eds) An Experiential Approach to Psychopathology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29945-7_5

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29945-7_5

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-29943-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-29945-7

  • eBook Packages: MedicineMedicine (R0)