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I initially thought "Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation" would be overly complex and written for psychologists or psychiatrists. In fact it is really written for both patient and doctor or therapist. I was impressed with how caring the authors came across. They truly understand dissociative disorders on all levels. This book covers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS).

While I am no expert on these disorders I know a good book when I read one. I thought the advice in this book and the skills for coping with the disorders were excellent. The advice for people who have many parts or personalities was especially helpful. I liked how the authors suggested creating an inner world or safe place in the mind for scared, angry or fearful parts to go when needed.

Some of the issues dealt with in this book include a sense of involuntariness, becoming emotionally numb, amnesia, depersonalization, derealization, isolation, eating habits, abuse, insomnia, losing track of time, loneliness, self-harm, anger, shame, phobias of inner experience, relaxation exercises, numerous personalities at war with each other and guilt. There are also sections that teach you how to deal with stressful family situations or work situations.

The sections on homework assignments take the process of dealing with the disorders to new levels. One assignment deals with healthy core beliefs and analyzes negative and positive beliefs.

What this book really explained well is how parts of the self are stuck in what the authors call "trauma-time." They discuss triggers that can lead you to feeling bad. Like if you feel anxious over going to a doctor's appointment there is advice on how to get in and out of the doctor's office more easily by going at a time when there are less patients waiting, say like immediately after lunch.

I'd recommend this to anyone with a dissociative disorder or to doctors, therapists, psychologists, nurses and psychiatrists who deal with these disorders.

~The Rebecca Review
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on July 24, 2011
I have found this manual to be extremely useful. The simple language and plenty of examples in this book, written for patients, helped me, as a therapist, to better understand some of the constructs of the theory of structural dissociation from THE HAUNTED SELF.
Also, whenever, I read sections from the book, along with clients during sessions, it never fails to amaze me to see their look of relief that authors from a different culture have so completely and accurately captured their tumultuous experience in words! This book has helped cultivate hope in many of my clients dealing with dissociative disorders.
Rani Raote, PhD, Psychotherapist, India
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on September 1, 2014
I am in recovery from DID and I had great hopes for this book but it didn't really help me much beyond a basic understanding of why I was suffering as I was. It's incredibly psychologically based, and seems to imply that we can change the reactions in the limbic system in our brain through a psychological approach. While this may work to a certain degree over a very long period of time, I feel that it's missing the main point: trauma is essentially in the limbic system in the brain, and also held in the body. Most of our mind reactions are too slow to compensate for the immediate triggering that takes place before we even realise it in our brain.

I personally recommend two other books as being far more useful. Pat Ogden's Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) is an amazing resource that works through what I hoped to gain from this book and didn't. David Berceli's The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process: Transcend Your Toughest Times has also given me simple exercises I can do at home which have massively reduced my extremely heightened startle response and released lots of trauma residues from my body. I've detailed how these books have helped me in the reviews I've posted on them.
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on August 11, 2011
I am reviewing this text from the standpoint of a medical professional who also struggles with dissociation on a daily basis. The approach is stepped and allows both the therapist and the client to understand the theory, etiology and goals meant to progress treament forward at a controlled pace. By sharing the same pool of information as the therapist, the client can more readily identify with the goals of treatment. The client and his/her alternate personalities can have time to process directed and accurate information outside of the session. The client can then participate more fully - or perhaps gain further insight to their states of being. The chapters can be worked sequentially or in the order that best fits the needs of the client. The paradigm for a therapeutic unit might be expected to decrease the tine spent in various stages of symptom management.
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on July 4, 2011
This book takes a different approach to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) than many others I have read. It outlines treatment of dissociation within the context of the trauma that caused it. By treating the underlying trauma and suggesting coping skills for that trauma, the book is the first of it's kind that I have read. Most other books tell what DID is and are a great source of information about DID, but suggest little in the form of treatment.
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on January 8, 2012
This information in this book is absolutlely life changing. It is presented in a way that is easy to understand and utilize, no matter what stage of healing and growth a person is at. The questions at the end of each chapter help to dig deeper using the new tools the information provides. I would recommend this book to anyone dealing with dissociation or to any person involved in relationship with a person dealing with trauma and dissociation. Excellent resource!!
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on August 12, 2012
Until I read this book I had no idea I had dissociative issues due to the traumas I had experienced. After reading this it really helped change my life. You don't have to do all the tasks just reading, understanding , and thinking about your behavior differently is so very helpful that change becomes more possible. Highly, highly recommend.
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on March 25, 2012
This is one of the best books on trauma I've ever read. This book is an excellent resource for therapists, trauma survivors, and anyone who cares about a survivor. It is written with compassion and great clarity and insight into the survivor's experience. The book is full of wonderful suggestions for coping with the various challenges of living with PTSD and dissociative disorder. Each chapter is written thoughtfully and clearly and ends with helpful exercises or open ended questions which reinforce the ideas that have been presented. My therapist recommended this book and I am so grateful he did. I can't say enough good things about it!
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on May 1, 2012
After reading "The Haunted Self" by Van der Hart, Nijenhuis & Steele, I wanted to learn how to apply the principles to my life. Thankfully, I did a search online & found this incredible workbook! It has a great deal of information as well as thoughtful homework that goes along with each chapter. One of the instructions at the beginning of each homework assignment is to "re-read the chapter." This made me "laugh out loud" and showed me that the authors truly understood people who dissociate! So far this workbook has brought an increase in self-awareness that I am certain will lead to less dissociation over time. I could not recommend a book higher.
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on January 10, 2013
This book is a fabulous companion to therapy, but it is also written and laid -out so well that a person can follow it on their own. The chapters are perfectly appropriate to the subject matter, the text is written in a way that everyone can understand, and the exercises are done in non-threatening steps (depending on where the person is in their process). The authors know what they're talking about - I highly recommend this book.
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