She's come undone: A neurobiological exploration of dissociative disorders



Life is often an enduring struggle for people who have been chronically traumatized. Their suffering essentially recounts a horrifying and anguished past that haunts them, incessantly. As clients attempt to hide their sorrow beneath a veneer of normality, therapists often feel beleaguered by their many symptoms and never-ending pain. Van der Kolk and McFarlane (1996) note that "experiencing trauma is an essential part of being human; history is written in blood" (p. 3). Centuries of wars, famines, pogroms, holocausts, slavery, dictatorship, and colonization brought every type of horror and abuse into the homes of our ancestors. Some found ways to adapt, but many succumbed to the horror and despair. Despite the capacity of humans to survive and adapt, traumatic experiences tend to alter their biological, psychological, and social equilibrium to such a vast extent that the memory and interpretation of their traumas wash over and taint all other experiences, contaminating the present and future (van der Kolk & McFarlane, 1996).


Book Section




Uri Bergmann

Original Work Citation



“She's come undone: A neurobiological exploration of dissociative disorders,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 26, 2020,

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