Towards Reconnecting:Creative Formulation and Understanding Dissociation

Parry, Sarah and Lloyd, M (2017) Towards Reconnecting:Creative Formulation and Understanding Dissociation. Mental Health Review Journal, 22 (1). pp. 28-39. ISSN 1361-9322

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Purpose The term dissociation can describe a coping strategy to protect oneself against something unwanted in the moment, a disconnection from sensations and experiences in the here and now. Although the more severe experiences of dissociation have been the subject of intense study over the last two decades, much less has been written about clients commonly seen in mental health services with mild to moderate dissociative conditions. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to attend to therapeutic work with a client who experienced moderate dissociation, which caused disruptions to her autobiographical narrative and sense-of-self. Design/methodology/approach This single case design details the therapeutic journey of a Caucasian woman in her early 40s, who experienced moderate dissociation. The report illustrates how the process of creative artwork formulation helped address unwanted dissociative experiences whilst enhancing other coping strategies. Findings The client’s personal resources combined with a creative and responsive approach to formulation and reformulation facilitated the process of reconnecting with herself and others through developing awareness of her strengths and past means of coping, finally developing a consistent self-narrative. Practical implications The experiences of a creative approach to formulation are discussed in relation to the client’s past traumas and case relevant theory. These preliminary findings suggest creative artwork formulation is an effective tool in terms of developing trust and shared understanding within the therapeutic relationship and meaning making processes throughout therapy. Originality/value This case study presents an account of creative artwork formulation used as a method of formulation and reformulation specifically with a client experiencing moderate dissociative experiences following interpersonal traumas. Further, the report discusses the ways in which creative artwork formulation facilitated memory exploration and integration, as well as containing meaning making and healing.

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Journal Article
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Mental Health Review Journal
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08 Oct 2021 14:30
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 01:20