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Drawing on the pioneering work of Janet, Freud, Sullivan, and Fairbairn and making extensive use of recent literature, Elizabeth Howell develops a comprehensive model of the dissociative mind. Dissociation, for her, suffuses everyday life; it is a relationally structured survival strategy that arises out of the mind’s need to allow interaction with frightening but still urgently needed others. For therapists dissociated self-states are among the everyday fare of clinical work and gain expression in dreams, projective identifications, and enactments. Pathological dissociation, on the other hand, results when the psyche is overwhelmed by trauma and signals the collapse of relationality and an addictive clinging to dissociative solutions. Howell examines the relationship of segregated models of attachment, disorganized attachment, mentalization, and defensive exclusion to dissociative processes in general and to particular kinds of dissociative solutions. Enactments are reframed as unconscious procedural ways of being with others that often result in segregated systems of attachment. Clinical phenomena associated with splitting are assigned to a model of “attachment-based dissociation” in which alternating dissociated self-states develop along an axis of relational trauma. Later chapters of the book examine dissociation in relation to pathological narcissism; the creation and reproduction of gender; and psychopathy. Elegant in conception, thoughtful in tone, broad and deep in clinical applications, Howell takes the reader from neurophysiology to attachment theory to the clinical remediation of trauma states to the reality of evil. It provides a masterful overview of a literature that extends forward to the writings of Bromberg, Stern, Ryle, and others. The capstone of contemporary understandings of dissociation in relation to development and psychopathology, The Dissociative Mind will be an adventure and an education for its many clinical readers.
The Dissociative Mind in Psychoanalysis: Understanding and Working With Trauma is an invaluable and cutting edge resource providing the current theory, practice, and research on trauma and dissociation within psychoanalysis. Elizabeth Howell and Sheldon Itzkowitz bring together experts in the field of dissociation and psychoanalysis, providing a comprehensive and forward-looking overview of the current thinking on trauma and dissociation. The volume contains articles on the history of concepts of trauma and dissociation, the linkage of complex trauma and dissociative problems in living, different modalities of treatment and theoretical approaches based on a new understanding of this linkage, as well as reviews of important new research. Overarching all of these is a clear explanation of how pathological dissociation is caused by trauma, and how this affects psychological organization -- concepts which have often been largely misunderstood. The Dissociative Mind in Psychoanalysis will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapists, trauma therapists, and students.
Drawing on the pioneering work of Janet, Freud, Sullivan, and Fairbairn and making extensive use of recent literature, Elizabeth Howell develops a comprehensive model of the dissociative mind. Dissociation, for her, suffuses everyday life; it is a relationally structured survival strategy that arises out of the mind’s need to allow interaction with frightening but still urgently needed others. For therapists dissociated self-states are among the everyday fare of clinical work and gain expression in dreams, projective identifications, and enactments. Pathological dissociation, on the other hand, results when the psyche is overwhelmed by trauma and signals the collapse of relationality and an addictive clinging to dissociative solutions. Howell examines the relationship of segregated models of attachment, disorganized attachment, mentalization, and defensive exclusion to dissociative processes in general and to particular kinds of dissociative solutions. Enactments are reframed as unconscious procedural ways of being with others that often result in segregated systems of attachment. Clinical phenomena associated with splitting are assigned to a model of “attachment-based dissociation” in which alternating dissociated self-states develop along an axis of relational trauma. Later chapters of the book examine dissociation in relation to pathological narcissism; the creation and reproduction of gender; and psychopathy. Elegant in conception, thoughtful in tone, broad and deep in clinical applications, Howell takes the reader from neurophysiology to attachment theory to the clinical remediation of trauma states to the reality of evil. It provides a masterful overview of a literature that extends forward to the writings of Bromberg, Stern, Ryle, and others. The capstone of contemporary understandings of dissociation in relation to development and psychopathology, The Dissociative Mind will be an adventure and an education for its many clinical readers.
Building on the comprehensive theoretical model of dissociation elegantly developed in The Dissociative Mind, Elizabeth Howell makes another invaluable contribution to the clinical understanding of dissociative states with Understanding and Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder. Howell, working within the realm of relational psychoanalysis, explicates a multifaceted approach to the treatment of this fascinating yet often misunderstood condition, which involves the partitioning of the personality into part-selves that remain unaware of one another, usually the result of severely traumatic experiences. Howell begins with an explication of dissociation theory and research that includes the dynamic unconscious, trauma theory, attachment, and neuroscience. She then discusses the identification and diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) before moving on to outline a phase-oriented treatment plan, which includes facilitating a multileveled co-constructed therapeutic relationship, emphasizing the multiplicity of transferences, countertransferences, and kinds of potential enactments. She then expands the treatment possibilities to include dreamwork, before moving on to discuss the risks involved in the treatment of DID and how to mitigate them. All concepts and technical approaches are permeated with rich clinical examples.
Mind Over Mind explores the phenomenon of spirit possession from both anthropological and psychological perspectives. Spirit possession is ritually important in many cultures from India to Brazil to Madagascar, but has tended to be narrowly regarded from modern American and European perspectives as a psychopathological problem of multiple personality disorder. This book proposes an integration of anthropological and psychological approaches, concluding with a new analytical framework for understanding spirit possession and resolving the controversy surrounding the "reality" of possession. The issues raised are thus essential to both the anthropology of religion and the psychology of altered states of consciousness. At the same time, Mind over Mind confronts the most challenging philosophical issues of human consciousness and human identity, which can not be properly formulated without the insights of social and cultural anthropology. At the most general level, this study argues for the unequivocal importance of an interdisciplinary approach to spirit possession and for the integral significance of anthropology for the other human sciences.
Dissociation challenges many comfortable assumptions. Dissociative phenomena are often stark, extreme, and vivid. The identities of individuals with dissociation disorders shift between apparent opposites. Their pain is ignored. Trauma victims report floating above their injured bodies. Are these arcane, dramatic, or staged events, or does dissociation underlie some fundamental aspect of mental organization? Is dissociation the product of a troubled mind or a key to understanding the structure of consciousness and the mind-body relationship? Dissociation: Culture, Mind, and Body is the first book to combine cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, neurophysiology, and the study of psychosomatic illness to present the latest information on the dissociative process. A variety of leading experts in each of these fields bring their knowledge on the unique role that dissociation plays in moderating social and psychological effects on the body. Dissociation: Culture, Mind, and Body is an invaluable resource for every student of dissociation and is designed for professionals in cross-cultural psychiatry and the influence of the mind on the body. Dissociation: Culture, Mind, and Body includes New theories of dissociation New measures of dissociation New evidence of the physical effects of dissociative processes
Evil - along with its incarnation in human form, the psychopath - remains underexamined in the psychological and psychoanalytic literature. Given current societal issues ranging from increasingly violent cultural divides to climate change, it is imperative that the topics of psychopathy and human evil be thoughtfully explored. The book brings together social scientists, psychologists, and psychoanalysts to discuss the psychology of psychopaths, and the personal, societal and cultural destruction they leave as their legacy. Chapters address such questions as: Who are psychopaths? How do they think and operate? What causes someone to commit psychopathic acts? And are psychopaths born or created? Psychopaths leave us shocked and bewildered by behavior that violates the notions of common human trust and bonding, but not all psychopaths commit crimes. Because of their unique proclivities to deceive, seduce, and dissemble, they can hide in plain sight; especially when intelligent and highly educated. This latter group comprise the "successful or corporate" psychopaths, frequently found in boardrooms of corporations and among leaders of national movements or heads of state. Addressing a wide range of topics including slavery, genocide, the Holocaust, the individual as psychopath, the mind of the terrorist, sexual abuse, the role of attachment and the neurobiology of psychopathy, this book will appeal to researchers of human evil and psychopathy from a range of different disciplines and represents essential reading for psychotherapists and clinical psychologists.

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