Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Jessica MitchellEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_784


Dissociation is a normal part of the psyche’s defensive process, severing connection between categories of mental events that are normally integrated. Streams of thought or consciousness are kept apart and communication between them is restricted, resulting in a discernable alteration in thoughts, feelings, or actions.

Dissociation is an unforeseen partial or total disruption of the normal integration of conscious functioning, a means by which typically integrated streams of thought or consciousness are segregated and resulting communication restricted. This default defense can take place as a consequence of repeated or overwhelming trauma. The ability to dissociate can begin with self-hypnotic declarations such as “I am not here; nothing is happening to me. I am not in this body.” This deceit then becomes a structuring dynamic within the personality (Mollon 2002).

Historically, dissociative states have been associated with psychological and physical trauma, healing...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Private PracticeNew YorkUSA