Thursday, August 25, 2011

Man has two minds

Thomson Jay Hudson (1834 – 1903)
, Chief Examiner of the US Patent Office and Psychical researcher, known for his three laws of psychic phenomena, which were first published in 1893.

Refusing his father's wish to become a minister of religion, Hudson funded his own study of law at college. He began a law practice in Port Huron, Michigan, but, in 1860, he began a journalistic career instead; and, in 1866, unsuccessfully ran for the US Senate. From 1877 till 1880 he was Washington Correspondent for the Scripps Syndicate. In 1880 he accepted a position in the US Patent Office, and was promoted to Principal Examiner of a Scientific Division, a post he held until the publication of his remarkable book The Law of Psychic Phenomena in 1893.

Thomson Jay Hudson began observing hypnotism shows and noticed similarities between hypnosis subjects and the trances of Spiritualist mediums. His conclusion was that any contact with "spirits" was in fact contact with the medium's or the subject's own subconscious. Anything else could be explained by telepathy, which he defined as contact between two or more subconsciouses.

Hudson postulated that his theory could explain all forms of spiritualism, and had a period of popularity until the carnage of the First World War caused a fresh interest in spiritualism again as psychic mediums emerged to meet the demands of grieving relatives.

Hudson's three laws
1. Man has two minds: the objective mind (conscious) and the subjective mind (subconscious).
2. The subjective mind is constantly amenable to control by suggestion.
3. The subjective mind is incapable of inductive reasoning.
Hudson's books include:
1. The Law of Psychic Phenomena (1892),
2. A Scientific Demonstration of the Future Life (1895),
3. Law of Mental Medicine (1903), and
4. Evolution of the Soul and Other Essays (1906).

[1] P.P.Quimby had already concluded all this some 30 years before.

Thomas Troward wrote about hypnosis, the subjective and objective minds in the early 1900's.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Goals For Me

I want to love you without clutching,
appreciate you without judging,
join you without invading,
invite you without demanding,
leave you without guilt,
criticize you without blaming,
And help you without insulting.
Virginia Satir

"Life is not what it's supposed to be.
It is what it is.
The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

“I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be
seen by them,
heard by them,
to be understood and
touched by them.”

Virginia Satir

“Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth.
It is sad that so many parents don't realize what messages they are sending. “
“Once a human being has arrived on this earth, communication is the largest single factor determining what kinds of relationships he makes with others and what happens to him in the world about him.”
“Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us.

Virginia Satir (1916 - 1988) was an American author and psychotherapist, known especially for her approach to family therapy and her work with Systemic Constellations. She is widely regarded as the "Mother of Family Therapy". She is also known for creating the Virginia Satir Change Process Model, a psychological model (how change impacts organizations) which was developed through clinical studies.
“Life is not what it's supposed to be. It is what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”
Virginia came from a farming family with an alcoholic father.

When she was five years old, Satir suffered from appendicitis. Her mother, a devout Christian Scientist, refused to take her to a doctor. By the time Satir's father decided to overrule his wife, the young girl's appendix had ruptured. Doctors were able to save her life, but Satir was forced to stay in the hospital for several months.

A curious child, Satir taught herself to read by age three, and by nine had read all of the books in the library of her small one-room school.

When she was six, she became very observant of human interactions when she developed deafness for two years following mastoiditis. She noticed that people appeared to communicate in very different ways from each other and decided then that she was going to be a detective of adults when she grew up. Unable to hear what they were saying, she learned to detect when they were blaming, placating, doing “super reasonable” (or computer), or distracting. She later explained that "I didn't quite know what I would look for, but I realized a lot went on in families that didn't meet the eye."
"The family is a microcosm. By knowing how to heal the family, I know how to heal the world."

Once she was an adult, she developed these defensive Communication Stances that she then recognized as defending low self-esteem. She taught people how to communicate congruently (sincerely but with consideration for the other's feelings); in other words, to be the same on the outside as they were on the inside and to be fully in touch with their whole Self.

When congruent, one can freely express one's own thoughts, feelings and opinions, and also acknowledge the thoughts, feelings and opinions of the other, and acknowledge the context of the relationship. She also taught that being congruent would raise self-esteem.

Virginia was internationally recognized for her creativity in the practice of family therapy. Based on conviction that people are capable of continued growth, change and new understanding, her goal was to improve relationships and communication within the family unit.
“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family”
She was one of the three sources of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), which was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. These two videotaped her, Fritz Perls, and Milton Erickson, the famous hypnotherapist. Richard Bandler and John Grinder discovered that these three magical therapists were using non-verbal cues and communication at a non-verbal level that can, in fact, be taught. NLP can be a potent tool for change, but asked what she thought of it, she said, “They have the mind of the matter, but not the heart of it.
“We can learn something new anytime we believe we can”
Virginia Satir developed what she called "survival stances" that demonstrated how problems were dealt with. These four are:
being irrelevant and
being super-reasonable.
These four stances were, she felt, developed throughout one's life; developed for survival which were used to protect themselves from perceived and presumed, verbal and nonverbal threats.
The four stances were used in therapy sessions as tools to determine her clients' issues and what the best avenue of productive therapy was needed. In addition, the therapy techniques were altered accordingly to help the client change their survival stances. By providing the client knowledge, awareness, experience and manifestation the therapies were enhanced and provided a positive outcome for the patient's.
Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.
There are five points of philosophy that drove her work; she referred to them as the "Five Freedoms" which are as follows:
• The freedom to see and hear what is in the present instead of what was, should be or will be
• The freedom to say what one thinks and feels rather than what one should
• The freedom to feel what one feels rather than what one ought
• The freedom to ask for what one wants rather than waiting for permission
• The freedom to take risk's on one's own behalf rather than choosing to "rocking the boat"
“If I can have the same from you then we can truly meet and enrich each other.”
One of Satir's most novel ideas at the time, was the "presenting issue" or surface problem – that the presenting issue itself was seldom the real problem; rather, how people coped with the issue created the problem." Satir also offered insights into the particular problems that low self-esteem could cause in relationships.

Long interested in the idea of networking, Satir founded two groups to help individuals find mental health workers or other people who were suffering from similar issues to their own. In 1970, she organized Beautiful People, which later became known as the International Human Learning Resources Network. In 1977 she founded the Avanta Network.

Two years later, Satir was appointed to the Steering Committee of the International Family Therapy Association and became a member of the Advisory Board for the National Council for Self-Esteem.
“Over the years I have developed a picture of what a human being living humanely is like. She is a person who understand, values and develops her body, finding it beautiful and useful; a person who is real and is willing to take risks, to be creative, to manifest competence, to change when the situation calls for it, and to find ways to accommodate to what is new and different, keeping that part of the old that is still useful and discarding what is not.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

"I am me,"

I am Me
by Virginia Satir

I am Me.
In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me.
Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it

I own everything about me:
my body,
my feelings,
my mouth,
my voice,
all my actions, whether they be to others or myself.

I own
my fantasies,
my dreams,
my hopes,
my fears.

I own
my triumphs and successes,
all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me.

By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts.

I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know, but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can

and do.

I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.
I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me.

I am me
I am okay.
Virginia came to write this poem when she was working with an angry fifteen-year-old girl who had a lot of questions about herself and what life meant.
It's a lesson for all of us at any age.

The name Virginia Satir may not sound familiar to most unless you have some knowledge of the history of hypnosis. A therapist who used a combination of different techniques to help individuals and families solve daily issues. She helped them to find the root of their problems and to increase their self-esteem and self-worth as individuals as well as being part of a family.

Virginia's heart was her essence, and she developed a highly non-judgmental egalitarian way of teaching people all over the world to communicate more effectively with one another and to raise their self-esteem. She believed that humans are, at the core, good, and spoke of the positive intention behind every behaviour, regardless of appearances.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hoaxes and the Power of Suggestion

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized.
In 1889 New Jersey doctor Henry Coit, MD urged the creation of a Medical Milk Commission to oversee or "certify" production of milk for cleanliness, finally getting one formed in 1893. By joining with select dairy experts, Coit and his team of physicians were able to enlist dairy farmers willing to meet their strict standards of hygiene in the production of clean, certified milk.
After years of tireless effort, raw, unpasteurized milk was again safe and available for public consumption, but it cost up to four times the price of uncertified milk.
Pasteurized and certified milks managed to peacefully co-exist for a time, but by the mid-1940's, the truce had become decidedly uneasy. In 1944. bogus articles were written.

One such article specified: "Crossroads, U.S.A., is in one of those states in the Midwest area called the bread basket and milk bowl of America….What happened to Crossroads might happen to your town - to your city - might happen almost anywhere in America." It then went on to describe a lurid account of a frightful epidemic of undulant fever allegedly caused by raw milk, an epidemic that "spread rapidly…it struck one out of every four persons in Crossroads.
But there was no Crossroads USA.
It was all fictional. No town. No epidemic.

Ever hear of The Great Bird Flu Hoax?

The “Famous" Indian Rope Trick?

On August 8, 1890, while working for the Tribune, John Wilkie wrote an anonymous article that first described the Indian Rope Trick. Featured on the front page of paper's second section, it was soon picked up by newspapers throughout the United States and United Kingdom, and it was translated into nearly every European language.
Four months later, the Tribune printed a retraction noting the story had been "written for the purpose of presenting a theory in an entertaining form." However, the notice of the hoax garnered little attention and the myth of the Indian Rope Trick perpetuated for years.

“How I Found the Lost Atlantis, The Source of All Civilization”
The most monumental Atlantis hoax was perpetrated by Paul Schleimann who, in 1912, conned the New York American into running a lengthy feature story entitled "How I Discovered Atlantis, the Source of All Civilization." This not only sold newspapers to impressed New Yorkers by the thousands, but so befuddled the academic world that many texts and source books on the Atlantis legend still list facts and figures from Schleimann's daring piece of science fiction.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Forer Effect

The Forer Effect (also called the Barnum Effect or Subjective Validation Effect) refers to the tendency to accept vague or general statements as being very personal and accurate.

Psychologist Bertram R. Forer,
(1914—2000), ran a series of tests in which he gave people a personality profile and asked them to rate its accuracy. Forer actually gave each person the exact same profile:
You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.

This assessment was created by combining snippets of horoscope readings. It demonstrates how easily people can be led to believe that their personality is being accurately assessed when it clearly is not.

He told his students they were each receiving a unique personality analysis that was based on the test's results and to rate their analysis on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) on how well it applied to themselves. On average, the rating was 4.26, but only after the ratings were turned in was it revealed that each student had received identical copies assembled by Forer from various horoscopes. A number of the statements that could apply equally to anyone.

The test was repeated many times, with an average of about 85% of people rating the personality profile as very accurate. Remember that each person received exactly the same profile as everyone else.

The Forer Effect can explain why so many "pseudosciences" continue to flourish, despite having a questionable validity. When a person starts off with hope or expectation that the astrology, biorhythm, rune stones, tarot, (or hands) will reveal "special" details about them, they're much more ready to believe the words and advice. Something general is mentioned, and the information is taken as specific and personal. This seems to be just another part of human nature, but a tendency we need to be aware of.

For psychics and other new age professionals, this means that the wonderfully positive feedback received from numerous repeat clients could still be nothing more than the Forer Effect and wishful thinking. And then the more you hear how good you are, the more you believe it, and the more practice you get at giving readings that produce the same positive feedback (like, perhaps 85% or so....). This is the Subjective Validation Effect. Theoretically, you could be harming every client and yet believe you were doing Divinely inspired work. Generalizations are commonly used by "Cold readers".

The Forer effect shows that people tend to accept generalised descriptions of their personalities without realising that the same evaluation could apply to nearly anyone else, because people want the results to be true.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The "Theory of Cognitive Dissonance" is born.

A housewife from Chicago, Dorothy Martin, had mysteriously been given messages in her house in the form of "automatic writing" from alien beings on the planet Clarion[1] . It reveals that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954. The group of believers, headed by Martin, had taken strong behavioral steps to indicate their degree of commitment to the belief.

They had left jobs, college, and spouses, and had given away money and possessions to prepare for their departure on the flying saucer, which was to rescue the group of true believers.

Leon Festinger and his colleagues saw this as a case that would lead to the arousal of dissonance when the prophecy failed.

Leon Festinger and his colleagues infiltrated the group and reported the following :
December 20. The group expects a visitor from outer space to call upon them at midnight and to escort them to a waiting spacecraft. As instructed, the group goes to great lengths to remove all metallic items from their persons. As midnight approaches, zippers, bra straps, and other objects are discarded. The group waits.
• 12:05 A.M., December 21. No visitor. Someone in the group notices that another clock in the room shows 11:55. The group agrees that it is not yet midnight.
12:10 A.M. The second clock strikes midnight. Still no visitor. The group sits in stunned silence. The cataclysm itself is no more than seven hours away.
4:45 A.M. Another message by automatic writing is sent to Martin. It states, in effect, that the God of Earth has decided to spare the planet from destruction. The cataclysm has been called off: "The little group, sitting all night long, had spread so much light that God had saved the world from destruction."
{Her husband was upstairs sleeping through all this}

The "Theory of Cognitive Dissonance" is born.

Dorothy Martin left Chicago after being threatened with arrest and psychiatric commitment. Dorothy Martin continued to receive messages from the Guardians, who told her to change her name to ‘Sister Thedra’ and to travel to Lake Titicaca in Peru. Once there, she established - along with Charles and Lillian Laughead and seminal mystic and contactee George Hunt Williamson [one of the "four guys named George" among the mid-1950s contactees] - the Abbey of the Seven Rays.

From this base Dorothy Martin began to prophesy the coming of the ‘Time of Awakening’ when Atlantis would rise from the deep and a new Saviour would rescue the righteous. In 1961 she returned to the United States, as “Sister Thedra”, claiming to have undergone initiation at the Abbey of the Seven Rays. She continued to preach her message until her death in 1988.

There are various new age accounts of Peru:
 Dorothy Martin lived in Peru for several years before returning to Arizona. In 1965, she founded the Association of Sananda and Samat Kumara. Under her new name of "Sister Thedra", she continued to act as a channel for Sananda and was prominent in the UFO contact community until her death.
 ” One women of the group, Sister Thedra, spent five years at the abbey undergoing intensive spiritual training and initiations. She had been sent there by Jesus Christ who had physically appeared to her and spontaneously cured her of cancer. He introduced himself to her by his true, esoteric name, "Sananda Kumara," thereby revealing his affiliation with the Venusian founders of the Great White and Solar Brotherhoods. When Thedra eventually left Peru, she traveled to Mt. Shasta in California and founded the Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara. Through the work of Sister Thedra and her organization the Kumaras have disseminated information concerning their history and the coming Earth changes.”
 “ … In 1954 Sister Thedra of Mount Shasta, California and Sedona, Arizona, in her 50’s at the time, suffering from terminal cancer, days numbered had Jesus suddenly appear in front of her and instantly healed her. From that moment she addressed him as Sananda Kumara. She began receiving messages from him and he sent her to the Peruvian Andes in 1956 for protection and to study at an ancient monastery, The Monastery of The Seven Rays, the early records and teachings of the Kumaras. Founded by the Lemurian sage Aramu Muru to preserve the records of Mu, and the golden disc the Kumaras brought from Venus. She remained there 5 years returning to Mount Shasta, a powerful vortex ethereally connected to the Kumaras, in the US in 1961. Later to keep her safe he orchestrated her move to Sedona, Arizona. In Sedona her Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara was headquartered in a house on a road with the strongest vortex in the area. After she passed the ASSK returned to Mount Shasta.”

[1]On Sept. 24, 1953, Redondo Beach resident Truman Bethurum(1898 – 1969) told a Daily Breeze reporter that he saw them, the Clarions. In fact, Bethurum did a lot more than see them. According to several articles, he rode on their flying saucer 11 times. And its captain, Aura Rahnes, promised to take Bethurum to visit Clarion in the near future. Capt. Rahnes was a beautiful woman who had a "slender Latin-type face" and wore a radiant red skirt, black velvet short sleeve blouse and a black beret with red trim. And they didn't refer to their ship as a saucer. They called it a "scow." And they enjoyed polkas and square dances. The ship itself was 300 feet in diameter, 6 yards deep and made of burnished stainless steel. It hovered silently inches above the ground.
Another thing Bethurum noticed: The Clarions all dressed like Greyhound bus drivers. And, not only did they speak perfect English, but they also spoke in rhyme. At the time of his encounters, Bethurum, was working on a construction job in the Nevada desert when the Clarionites, as he called them, stopped by for a visit.
He refused lie-detector examinations, and also refused to provide physical evidence he claimed to possess, such as supposedly unique items given to him by Captain Aura Rhanes.

I noticed a hypnosis convention this summer where one workshop was on "Ascended Masters". Does hypnosis really have anything to do with that?
In the 30’s Guy Warren Ballard introduced the concept of "Ascended Master Teaching”s and the “Ascension”. Borrowing from Theosophy and “A Dweller on Two Planets or The Dividing of the Way” by Frederick S. Oliver, he claimed to have met St. Germaine at Mount Shasta and spread the word. At it’s peak his followers numbered 1 million. His death in 1939 created a quandary in that his body remained. This was rectified by the concept of “levels of mastery”. Between Ballard and Elizabeth Clare Prophet from the 60’s to the 90’s more than 200 "Ascended Masters" were named.
This book is openly acknowledged as source material for many new age belief systems, including the once-popular "I AM" movement (whose founder, Guy Ballard, read more

Unveiled Mysteries by Godfré Ray King (pseudonym of Guy Warren Ballard)[1934] see text

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cognitive dissonance is the mental conflict that people experience when they are presented with evidence that their beliefs or assumptions are wrong.

According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions). When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behavior.

For example, consider a situation in which a woman who values financial security is in a relationship with a man who is financially irresponsible.

The conflict:
• It is important for her to be financially secure.
• She is dating a man who is financially unstable.

In order to reduce this dissonance between belief and behavior, she can either leave the relationship or reduce her emphasis on financial security.
In the case of the second option, dissonance could be further minimized by emphasizing the positive qualities of her significant other rather than focusing on his perceived flaws.

There are three key strategies to reduce or minimize cognitive dissonance:

  1. • Focus on more supportive beliefs that outweigh the dissonant belief or behavior.
  2. • Reduce the importance of the conflicting belief.
  3. • Change the conflicting belief so that it is consistent with other beliefs or behaviors.

Dissociative Disorders

Depersonalization disorder (DPD) is a dissociative disorder in which the sufferer is affected by persistent or recurrent feelings of depersonalization and/or derealization.
Occasional moments of mild depersonalization are normal
: strong, severe, persistent, or recurrent feelings are not.

Depersonalization disorder is marked by a feeling of detachment or distance from one's own experience, body, or self. These feelings of depersonalization are recurrent. Of the dissociative disorders, depersonalization is the one most easily identified with by the general public; one can easily relate to feeling as they in a dream, or being "spaced out." Feeling out of control of one's actions and movements is something that people describe when intoxicated. An individual with depersonalization disorder has this experience so frequently and so severely that it interrupts his or her functioning and experience. A person's experience with depersonalization can be so severe that he or she believes the external world is unreal or distorted.

Depersonalization disorder is a psychiatric disorder affecting emotions and behavior. It is characterized by an alteration in how an affected individual perceives or experiences his or her unique sense of self. The usual sense of one's own reality is temporarily lost or changed. A feeling of detachment from, or being an outside observer of, one's mental processes or body occurs such as the sensation of being in a dream.

Derealization (sometimes abbreviated as DR) is an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems strange or unreal. Other symptoms include feeling as though one's environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional coloring and depth.
Terms commonly used to describe Derealisation spaceyness... like looking through a grey veil... a sensory fog... being trapped in a glass bell jar... in a disney-world dream state... withdrawn... feeling cut off or distant from the immediate surroundings... like being a spectator at some strange and meaningless game... objects appear diminished in size, flat, dream-like, cartoon like, artificial... objects appear to be unsolid, to breathe, or to shimmer...

A fugue state, formally dissociative fugue or psychogenic fugue is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality and other identifying characteristics of individuality. The state is usually short-lived (hours to days), but can last months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity. After recovery from fugue, previous memories usually return intact, but there is complete amnesia for the fugue episode.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a psychiatric diagnosis and describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment.
Psychogenic amnesia, also known as functional amnesia or dissociative amnesia, is a memory disorder characterized by extreme memory loss that is caused by extensive psychological stress and that cannot be attributed to a known neurobiological cause. Psychogenic amnesia is defined by (a) the presence of retrograde amnesia (the inability to retrieve stored memories leading up to the onset of amnesia), and (b) an absence of anterograde amnesia (the inability to form new long term memories). Dissociative amnesia is due to psychological rather than physiological causes and can sometimes be helped by therapy.

There are two types of psychogenic amnesia, global and situation-specific. Global amnesia, also known as fugue state, refers to a sudden loss of personal identity that lasts a few hours to days, and is typically preceded by severe stress and/or depressed mood. Fugue state is very rare, and usually resolves over time, often helped by therapy. In most cases, patients lose their autobiographical memory and personal identity even though they are able to learn new information and perform everyday functions normally. Other times, there may be a loss of basic semantic knowledge and procedural skills such as reading and writing. Situation-specific amnesia occurs as a result of a severely stressful event, as in post-traumatic stress disorder, child sex abuse, military combat[8] or witnessing a family member's murder or suicide, and is somewhat common in cases of severe and/or repeated trauma

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Dissociation is a partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s conscious or psychological functioning. Dissociation can be a response to trauma or drugs and perhaps allows the mind to distance itself from experiences that are too much for the psyche to process at that time. Dissociative disruptions can affect any aspect of a person’s functioning. Although some dissociative disruptions involve amnesia, some dissociative events do not. Since dissociations are normally unanticipated, they are typically experienced as startling, autonomous intrusions into the person's usual ways of responding or functioning. Due to their unexpected and largely inexplicable nature, they tend to be quite unsettling.

Different dissociative disorders have different relationships to stress and trauma.

The French philosopher and psychiatrist Pierre Janet (1859–1947) is considered to be the author of the concept of dissociation. He was a pioneering French psychologist, philosopher and psychotherapist in the field of dissociation and traumatic memory.

Contrary to most current conceptions of dissociation, Janet did not believe that dissociation was a psychological defense. Psychological defense mechanisms belong to Freud's theory of psychoanalysis, not to Janetian psychology. Janet claimed that dissociation occurred only in persons who had a constitutional weakness of mental functioning that led to hysteria when they were stressed. Although it is true that many of Janet's case histories described traumatic experiences, he never considered dissociation to be a defense against those experiences. Quite the opposite. Janet insisted that dissociation was a mental or cognitive deficit. Accordingly, he considered trauma to be one of many stressors that could worsen the already-impaired "mental efficiency" of a hysteric, thereby generating a cascade of hysterical (in today's language, "dissociative") symptoms.

Janet began his career as a philosopher, who used hypnosis to explore the dissociative propensities of the human mind. Following his doctoral dissertation in philosophy, he rapidly completed a medical degree and, with the sponsorship of J. M. Charcot[1], opened a laboratory in Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, where he continued his research into the nature and treatment of dissociative conditions. He was one of the first people to draw a connection between events in the subject's past life and his or her present day trauma, and coined the words ‘dissociation’ and ‘subconscious’. Hypnosis continued to be his investigative tool and therapeutic intervention of choice because it was, in his view, a form of dissociation. "Hypnotism may be defined as the momentary transformation of the mental state of an individual, artificially induced by a second person, and sufficing to bring about dissociations of personal memory". In several ways, he preceded Sigmund Freud.

[1]Jean-Martin Charcot (1825 –1893) was a French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology. His work greatly influenced the developing fields of neurology and psychology. He was the "foremost neurologist of late nineteenth-century France" and has been called "the Napoleon of the neuroses". Charcot is best known today, outside the community of neurologists, for his work on hypnosis and hysteria. He believed that hysteria was a neurological disorder for which patients were pre-disposed by hereditary features of their nervous system. Charcot's interest in hysteria and hypnotism "developed at a time when the general public was fascinated in 'animal magnetism' and mesmerization'".