As online groups for dissociative identity disorders have proliferated and media portrayals in movies have features of characters with “inside parts,” familiarity with dissociation portrayals in their environment may influence young people to imitate or internalize these phenomena. For the careful diagnostician, trained to look for chronic and severe early developmental trauma, it can be very confusing when trying to unravel the cultural influences and the traumagenic influences that lead to severe dissociative presentations.
In this workshop, the presenter, an expert in dissociation in youth, will help to parse the various dissociative symptoms that may present themselves in young people to assist with diagnostic accuracy. The theoretical model presented will emphasize the interaction of both trauma-related factors and cultural and interpersonal influences to help understand individual clients. Through case histories, and presentation of some of the evolving phenomena related to dissociation in the self-help world (such as “fictives,” or internalized media characters) the participants will learn how to assess dissociation in youth and learn to enter the client’s own unique dissociative world to move them towards healthier functioning. The workshop will address the question of whether alternate views of the self can be a normative variant or whether our understanding of conventional “health” is the goal for children and adolescents.