October 17, 2023
Dissociative Experiences in Survivors of Trafficking: A Clinical Overview by Anastasia Lynge
Dissociative experiences have long been identified within the psychological literature, beginning with Ferenczi’s ‘confusion of tongues’ (1933) and continuing with the development of the theory of structural dissociation of the personality (Nijenhuis et al., 2010), and clinicians have worked with survivors of complex trauma to put words to unimaginable experiences. Unfortunately, the dissociative experiences of survivors of human trafficking are under-researched, leading to a discrepancy in training among mental health providers. Clinicians are often left feeling under-resourced when caring for survivors of exploitation, causing a lack of services for an already under-resourced population. This presentation provides an accessible clinical overview of dissociative experiences held by survivors of all forms of trafficking. Utilizing the framework of liberation health (Martinez & Fleck-Henderson, 2014), this presentation will include information geared towards service providers working with trafficked populations. Clinical, theoretical, and transformative models for providers will be explored. An emphasis will be placed on empowering survivors of trafficking, with a central focus on de-pathologizing experiences of exploitation and severe trauma. Special attention will be paid to the importance of lived wisdom and experience, with attention paid to the intersectionality of identities held by survivors at both the U.S. and international levels. The presentation will offer a series of recommendations, including a supplemental list of further reading and viewing materials, to direct service providers. The presentation will conclude with a call to action for clinical professionals to employ liberatory and evidence-based practices to a chronically underserved population.