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The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) Hardcover – November 17, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0393704013 ISBN-10: 0393704017 Edition: 1st

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The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) + Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists + Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship
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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology
  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393704017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393704013
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A powerful set of insights for clinicians, students of clinical psychology and psychiatry, and any involved in mental health issues. (The Bookwatch)

About the Author

Onno van der Hart, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychopathology of Chronic Traumatization, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and a psychologist / psychotherapist at the Sinai Center for Mental Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is a Past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). He was recently honored as an Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, Netherlands.

Ellert R. S. Nijenhuis, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and researcher. He is affiliated with Mental Health Care Drenthe, The Netherlands and collaborates with various Universities. He is a former director of the Executive Council of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD).

Kathy Steele, MN, CS, is Clinical Director of Metropolitan Counseling Services, a training and low cost psychotherapy center, and is in private practice with Metropolitan Psychotherapy Associates in Atlanta, Georgia. She serves on the Board of the International Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, and is a former member of the Executive Council of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 25 customer reviews
Something amazing happened with this embrace.
This book is great advanced reading for those DID'ers who have already read everything else out there and are looking for more.
A. Hardy
And from my clinical practice I saw how useful and effective are concepts and practical therapeutic guidelines from this book.
Oleh Romanchuk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

275 of 287 people found the following review helpful By Walt on April 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I must express extreme praise and admiration for the work and eventual understanding the authors of The Haunted Self have so relatively displayed in researching trauma related disorders and maladaptive behaviors. But the amazing thing is they were able to explain it in terms a sufferer can understand. This is not something that happens in research very often. I have been involved in research of some sort all my adult life and know that research produces facts and figures from which decisions and theories can be constructed with a reasonable amount of certainty. The one thing research cannot do is produce empathy and compassion. Being a post-modern theologian as well as an engineer, I know these two expressions can only come from a calling to help humanity. I am a fifty-one year old male who has suffered the agonizing pain of the effects of trauma in many different ways and forms all my life. After reading well over one-hundred and twenty thousand pages of research on my symptoms and problems and theorizing and journaling thoughts, I finally found not only an explanation but compassion and empathy within the pages of this book. I believe this is vital in any therapeutic relationship. Without a shadow of a doubt, the reader can make a therapeutic relationship with this book that can be externalized and extended into their patient therapist relationship. This book is to trauma and mental health as Einstein's theory of relativity is to physics or what the personal computer is to how we view information or, more importantly, what parole is to a prisoner.

I have been treated for many anxiety related symptoms but another symptom would just take its place after treatment. Then the original symptom would reoccur. This cycle has lasted all my life with devastating personal effects.
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114 of 119 people found the following review helpful By B. Sugarman on April 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Prior to reading this book, not only did I feel fragmented myself, but the different theories about what had happened to me that were put forward also seemed fragmented and disconnected, like slices at different angles to the truth. As well as advocating an method of integration in the patient, the theory of structural dissociation presented in this book also seems integrative in itself, in showing how different, seemingly unrelated diagnoses can be seen to be derived from the same underlying trauma related processes. As a patient this is not just theoretically interesting but it can help take away alot of the anxiety, confusion, and scepticism that comes from being sliced and diced in different ways by different mental health professionals. I think that the more patients and professionals that are exposed to these ideas, the better.

I thought this was a brilliant, original and beautifully written book, that expresses some very sophisticated ideas in a clear and systematic way. As well as the theoretical insights conveyed, this book also provides a integrative treatment plan, which brings together tools and ideas from across a broad spectrum of psychological paradigms. After only a few pages into the book, I got an "aha" moment and this deepened into a sense that finally someone seemed to be speaking a language that made sense to me. The book is written in a structured, iterative way. The first few chapters give you a broad understanding of what structural dissociation involves, and how it plays a core role in creating the symptoms experienced by both "classic" dissociative individuals, and those who may appear to have another mental illness (anxiety, depression etc), but whose symptoms are in fact a manifestation of underlying structural dissociation.
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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A. Hardy on May 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In THE HAUNTED SELF the authors, Onno van der Hart, Ellert Nijenhuis and Kathy Steele present a theory of structural dissociation that builds upon the work of Pierre Janet and ties together the recent developments in the areas of trauma and dissociation. They build their theory methodically and concisely, tackling the difficult subject of dissociation and its effects on survivors of trauma. Their writing is compassionate and understanding, illuminating their therapeutic skills while at the same time delving into one of the most misunderstood and confounding areas of psychology with clarity and thoughtfulness.

The book is a challenging read, not because of the language, but because of the thoroughness and detail devoted to the construction of the authors' somewhat complex theory. Divided into two sections, the first constructs the theory of structural dissociation itself, with the second section presenting the phase oriented treatment, including examples illustrating the therapeutic processes involved.

The theory the authors present is consistent with recent advances in neuroscience and has the potential to impact the treatment of those suffering from a range of psychological disorders. The authors fully acknowledge and solicit feedback for those parts of their theory that are in need of further research. They also use the work of many others who have extended our knowledge of trauma and dissociation and its treatment over the past century.

Rather than approaching dissociative disorders by only examining the modern theories and developments, they begin with the work of Janet and thus are able to define the sequential breakdown of the personality in the face of traumatic incidences.
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