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Reviews the book, The haunted self: Structural dissociation and the treatment of chronic traumatization by Onno van der Hart, Ellert R. S. Nijenhuis, and Kathy Steele (see record 2006-13256-000). The variety of survival responses that chronically abused or neglected children develop can confound their adult therapy and their therapists. The major purpose of this book is to offer a clear, nonretraumatizing psychotherapy for the patient and the therapist. In the reviewer's opinion, the book does all this, and more. The authors have constructed a theory of dissociation based on the work of Pierre Janet and recent developments in trauma and dissociation research. The proposed theory, research, and treatment are understandable and immediately useful for effective and efficient assessment and treatment. The Janetian concept of structural (traumatic) dissociation explains how a deficiency in the cohesiveness and flexibility of the personality happens as a result of abuse and/or neglect. It spells out how a unified sense of self is necessary for an integrated personality, and includes the ongoing mental and physical functions that support adaptive behavior in everyday life. The theory leads to competent evaluation and treatment formulations that can help patients integrate their experiences with a growing sense of themselves as a whole. The reviewer recommends this book to anyone likely to treat adults abused as children, children just out of an abusive situation, and adults experiencing posttraumatic stress of any kind. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)




Shaw, J. (2008). Review of The haunted self: Structural dissociation and the treatment of chronic traumatization. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 34(2), 174–177. https://doi.org/10.1080/00926230701703500

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