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ahhhh, the integration dilemma :-) Dinah

Posted by terra miller on June 15, 2002, at 22:17:21

In reply to The Myth of Sanity - Terra and Judy, posted by Dinah on June 15, 2002, at 12:23:17

> Do either of you know of any books or other resources for people who are on the dissociative spectrum, without having DID, and without having repressed memories or major trauma in their past (ongoing stress, no abuse)?

You might try a book written for PTSD. They tend to deal more generally with dissociative, as opposed to a book about abuse or DID which would get more specific. Significant stress can make anybody dissociate, which is why a PTSD book might be beneficial. ISSD might be able to recommend some books (I forget what the letters stand for, but they have a website.) Most of what I've read has been trauma specific because that's what I needed to read. However, I commend you for your understanding of the range/spectrum of dissociating.... because I think once you know that, it takes lots of stygma away when you realize that we all do it to some degree.

> And Terra, she seems to feel that integration is the answer to dissociation. You seem to know a lot about dissociation. Is integration the only answer? I have no desire for integration.

There are two trains of though about integration: 1)It's the best way and 2)It's not necessary... cooperation is just as good. Usually to generalize, therapists hold the first opinion as do some clients and for the second opinion clients hold that opinion who have learned to be aware of their other "parts" and have decided that they'd rather feel plural than feel alone. (That's so simplified.. I can go deeper into that if you wish.)

However... it is my opinion that you cannot say "i am not going to integrate." integration is not an event; it is a process. it is the process that happens when one becomes aware of material that they didn't know about before and one is able to retain that knowledge/memory. then it can be said that the previously dissociated material has now been integrated into the recognizable.

Now, with DID or dissociation onward down the continuum, integration is a little trickier. There might be material that is learned, and then it's forgotten all over again. Sometimes that material is attached to part of the brain that actually functions in a set identity, so you have to deal with identity issues then.... and then integration includes not only assimilation of material but also assimilation of wishes/ways of relating to the world/ways of behaving/mannerisms, etc.

So, I think integration is a process and not an event. I also think that you can decide you are not going to integrate and then you might be left with knowing "about" something without actually knowing the information. It might feel like it's one person removed. But some people choose this, especially when there's too much pain associated with integrating some part of the brain/identity. I know a person with DID, for example, who has two states- herself as everyone sees her, and a child state to which she is completely unaware but who participates in her world (feels like lost time to her) and talks to her therapist. But this woman has no desire to know anything about this child and so she continues to exist this way because it's what she has chosen, and so that complete dissociative barrier has remained intact.

Let me know if I answered what you were asking.

Take care,





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