Dissociation and trauma in young people

Dissociation is when there is a disruption in the usual way we piece together and connect to the different parts of our world. It can refer to a broad range of complex experiences, so it can be helpful to think of dissociation as on a spectrum or continuum. At one end there is a dissociative experience, such as daydreaming, that everyone experiences, which is common and healthy. At the other end is a highly intense, and often distressing, dissociative experience, which may involve completely disconnecting with reality or even one’s own identity.

This factsheet focuses on supporting young people, their families and carers to understand what dissociation is, and how it can relate to traumatic experiences.