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Understanding the Role of Trauma in Psychosis

While it’s still common for people to be told that psychosis is a brain disorder that was not caused by anything anyone did to them, there is now an extensive body of research that indicates that traumatic experience can be a cause of psychosis, and the link between having multiple types of trauma and later psychosis is close to the strength of the link between smoking and lung cancer.

But what is the nature of the connection between trauma and psychosis? One factor that seems to play a role is that of dissociation, which is something we all do at times but which is often very strongly triggered by trauma.

To help professionals understand and work with this issue, I offered a free one hour webinar “Trauma, Dissociative Splits, and Psychosis: Approaches to Healing” on Friday April 21st – the recording is now available, see below. (This event was hosted by APA Division 18 Community and State Hospitals Section.)

Here’s the description for it:

“Dissociation is a factor that can mediate the relationship between adverse life experiences and psychosis. This webinar explores how methods drawn from diverse sources like evidence-based practice (CBT) and peer support/lived experience (Hearing Voices Movement) can help people regain perspective and personal power. Discussion regarding the utilization of effective psychosocial interventions and supports to promote healing and quality of life will be conducted.”

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain how dissociation as a trauma response can create risk for psychosis.
  • Identify and describe at least 2 therapeutic interventions for dissociation that also reduce distress related to psychotic symptoms.
  • Describe at least 2 individual factors to consider when selecting and adapting treatment for trauma and psychosis.

There are also recordings of a couple of earlier webinars that you can view:

Trauma and Psychosis: Exploring the Intersection

Moving from Trauma and Psychosis to a Recovery Story

1 comment… add one
  • I want to recover from my illness


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