We use the terms trauma, crisis, major stressor and related terms as essentially synonymous expressions to describe circumstances that significantly challenge or invalidate important components of the individual’s assumptive world.
Calhoun and Tedeschi: The Foundations of Post Traumatic Growth
Dissociation is a symptom this commonly seen when a complex trauma pattern of brain functioning is present. It indicates an altered state of awareness. The narrowed field of consciousness that is present is often accompanied by amnesia.
Repression, on the other hand, occurs in a normal state of consciousness. This involves an active process of pushing memories, thoughts and emotions out of conscious awareness.
When our social environment is good enough during the period when we are developing, and growing up, then we are able to rapidly, and fluidly, change between the various emotional states that are needed if we are to respond appropriately to ever-changing environmental triggers.
When this developmental environment has not been good enough, we can become overwhelmed by the constant change in our emotional state and a protective state of dissociation can become a part of our emotional repertoire. Continue reading