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therapy speak

Therapist explains the phenomenon of dissociating

Therapy speak (notice how everyone talks like a therapist these days?) has entered the chat and unfortunately it's here to stay whether therapists like it or not.

With the rise of social media and content creators trying to break the stigma of mental health, therapy speak has become a part of people's daily lexicon, even if it's not always used properly. "Dissociation" is a term used frequently online whether it's someone saying they dissociate or diagnosing themselves with dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder.

It's clear from comments and videos that there's confusion around what truly constitutes dissociation and when to be concerned. Kati Morton, a licensed marriage and family therapist, breaks down what she calls a spectrum of dissociation, helping to clarify the phenomenon.

Morton begins the video by explaining what causes dissociation and what it is.

"When we become overwhelmed, meaning what's happening to us is too much for us to manage, our brain, oftentimes, pulls the ripcord on reality."


This doesn't mean that you have to be overwhelmed to get to this depersonalized state but it does mean it's fairly common for people to experience this when trauma happens. When experiencing trauma our brains are self-protecting by design, that's where this break from reality can come from in the moment, but dissociation can be experienced without trauma or a history of it.

Morton explains that on the spectrum of dissociation, that spacing out is on the lower end, giving the example of driving home on autopilot after a stressful day. You're not quite sure how you got home but you're getting out of the car and walking to your door. While on the other more severe end of the spectrum is dissociative identity disorder. The video gives a very clear easy to understand guide to what dissociation is.

You can watch the entire video below: