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Interview with Joyanna L. Silberg, a reference in Trauma and Child Dissociation

Interview with Joyanna L. Silberg, a reference in Trauma and Child Dissociation

June 24, 2021

It is a pleasure to be able to soon have Joyanna L. Silberg in Spain, international reference in the psychological intervention in trauma with children and adolescents. From October 26 to 28 in Pamplona, ​​we can learn from your hand about child dissociation. In this interview with Joyanna we will solve some frequent doubts related to this psychological phenomenon.

  • Related article: "The 6 stages of childhood (physical and psychic development)"

Joyanna L. Silberg, on the process of child dissociation

For many child therapists the issue of child dissociation is still a big unknown . It is true that we can hear about dissociation in adults, but it is difficult to find literature about it in the world of children.


We understand that we can not transfer the same concept of the adult world to the children's brain, since a characteristic of childhood is the lack of integration of experiences, which is facilitated by the adults who accompany the child, as long as they mentalize the child's states and put words to them. And this is precisely what does not happen in traumatic environments or families involved in constant suffering and destructuring.

You do not see the child's pain and you do not know how to calm down; This prolonged discomfort must be digested by the child himself, who does not have the capacity to develop it. Therefore, it is good to understand the basic mechanisms of child dissociation, a topic that we will discuss below with Joyanna L. Silberg.


Jonathan García-Allen: What can precipitate a state of dissociation in a child?

Joyanna: Children who suffer extreme terror and have no one to help them soothe the overwhelming state of trauma can enter a state of dissociation.

Jonathan García-Allen: What relationship can there be between the child's attachment type and dissociation?

If a child does not have a consistent parent when it comes to promoting healthy attachment, that child will be more likely to deal with dissociation. Children with disorganized attachment, who coexist with situations in which they are unable to predict how their parents will react to them, are the most predisposed to develop dissociation to adapt to that uncertainty.

Jonathan García-Allen: What are the differences between the dissociation of children and adults?


When adults use dissociation to cope with a traumatic situation, it is the result of a form of coping defense learned throughout life that solidifies and is difficult to interrupt.

Children are growing and their minds are developing and, therefore, when you help them manage the discomfort of a situation, by staying connected to them and facilitating a state of presence, they can learn to cope with the situation without dissociating. It is easier for them to learn or relearn and the treatment is faster.

Jonathan García-Allen: Is there a population profile that shows more tendency to dissociative states?

It seems that children who are more prone to fantasy, who are easily involved in fantasy and let themselves be absorbed by their own imagination, are the most susceptible to developing them, since they use the escape to the mind in a natural way for them.

Jonathan García-Allen: There are different treatments to work with child dissociation. Which therapies have better results?

Children must learn that the most healthy way to achieve an integrated mental state is to achieve a "complete self" in which different states are part of the same Self and work together. They learn this to the extent that they are helped to respect all their feelings and all their states. Children connect with these ideas easily and have an internal drive toward healing.

Interrupting the dissociative pathways in children can avoid the terrible morbidity of dissociative disorders in adults. Working with dissociative children gives therapists a window into the incredible minds of children, and brings a feeling of great respect for the way children learn to survive all obstacles.

To know more

Joyanna L. Silberg will give a workshop on intervention in child dissociation in Spain, from 26 to 28 October in Pamplona. This course, organized by the psychology office Vitaliza, will have a translation into Spanish and can be done online thanks to its streaming broadcast.

  • To know the complete program, you can access the contact information of Vitaliza, and its web page, from the tab of this link.

No Way Out But One (June 2021).


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