This article presents five key concepts for understanding, assessing and treating dissociation and dissociative disorders. The concepts are: (1) dissociation is a multifaceted construct; (2) dissociation is related to traumatic experiences; (3) the domains of dissociation involve almost the entire spectrum of psychopathology; (4) the commonly used measures for the assessment of dissociation are valid and reliable; (5) dissociative identity disorder exists and is the result of severe relational trauma in childhood. These concepts offer a unitary and comprehensive knowledge that can guide novel or expert clinicians in recognizing, assessing and addressing problems in people who manifest excessively activated dissociative processes.
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