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"The Mind-Body Connection"
By: Patricia D. McClendon, MSSW
Date: May 1995
Note: The following material was written in response to some discussion on Peter Barach's dissociative-disorders mailing list (part of InterPsych). Peter Barach, Ph.D., is the member-at-large for ISSD. To subscribe to the dissociative-disorders mailing list, go to the "Trauma News and Updates" page for more information.
Somatization IS a complex phenomenon ....
Here's a rather lengthy quote from "Mind-Body Therapy: Methods of Ideodynamic Healing in Hypnosis" by Ernest L. Rossi and David B. Cheek, 1988, WWNorton & Co., p.163-4:
The Brain-Body Connection
The next 4 pages -" The Celluar-Genetic Connection" section- discuss the mind-gene-molecule communication network, the classic psychosomatic responses to stress, Selye's three-part psychosomatic response, "mind-gene stress operon" and Rossi's theory that a mind-gene healing operons also exists.
A short quote, p.167:
Now, what does all that have to do with dissociative disorders? As I previously mentioned, I believe trance (dissociation) can disrupt the survivor's neurochemistry even on an autonomic level. The reason that hypnosis is successful when other treatment modalities fail, is theorized to be its ability to "bypass" the client's conscious mind which is "blocking" treatment. Perhaps, Francine Sharpiro's Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, EMDR, also works to "bypass" the conscious mind and honors the mind-body connections as does hypnosis.
I believe, survivors do not have conscious control over their somatization because somatization is tied to neuropsychophysiologic (NPP) state-dependent memory (SDM). However, they do have control over whether or not they embellish their symptoms and disabilities. And, whether or not they are cooperating with treatment to desensitize "triggers" that make their somatization symptoms worse. They did not chose to be abuse and end up with somatic symptoms/illnesses. These symptoms are natural outcome of enduring significant trauma.
All people dissociate, so somatic illnesses aren't limited to dissociative disordered clients or "borderlines" (just a different type of dissociative disorder).
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