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Perlman, S.D. (2006). On Dissociation: Notes From a Space Alien. Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 1(4):413-434.

(2006). International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 1(4):413-434

On Dissociation: Notes From a Space Alien

Stuart D. Perlman, Ph.D.

Dissociation and its relationship to trauma in a person's world have been described in the literature primarily from the perspective of the psychoanalyst/ psychotherapist and theorist. Definitions of dissociation within this literature radically contrast with a patient's nuanced description, which is derived from a largely verbatim session and her writings.

Perhaps my entire existence is dependent on dissociation. I could not take a breath if I accepted my fragility, my need, and my nearness to the brink of nothingness. Instead, I created walls that let me think, exist, without human needs. Admitting to human needs would jeopardize my existence.

…[My internal walls] are just dikes holding aside the thoughtless stuff in my mind that permit me to think clearly. Erecting and maintaining the walls requires energy just as do my other practices like withdrawing into myself and operating myself by remote control. I can write objectively how these mental tricks work and permit feelings to be stored in different parts of myself.…—From the writings of a space alien who visited my office

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