Children who have experienced severe maltreatment may use dissociation as a strategy to cope with the ongoing trauma of their maltreatment. Although dissociation may help children cope with maltreatment, it can become maladaptive if it is used in other contexts. This article explores the symptoms of dissociate disorders and the ways that maladaptive dissociation can develop in maltreated children. Strategies for distinguishing dissociative disorders from other disorders in children are reviewed and treatment strategies for children and adolescents with maladaptive dissociation, and their families, are explored.
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