reFOCUS: Recovering Former Cultists' Support Network
Coping With Trance States: The Aftermath of Leaving
Trance states, derealization, dissociation, spaceyness...what are they? What strategies can we use to cope with them?
By trance states, we mean:
In the group we called it spacing out or higher/altered states of consciousness.
All humans have some propensity to have moments of dissociation. However, certain practices (meditation, chanting, learned processes of speaking in tongues, prolonged guided imagery, etc.) appear to have ingrained in many former members a reflexive response to involuntarily enter altered states of consciousness.
Even after leaving the group and ceasing its consciousness-altering practices, this habitual, learned response tends to recur under stress.
For some former members this can be distressing and affect their functioning. When this happens, it tends to impair one's concentration, attention, memory and coping skills.
Many former members coming from prolonged consciousness-altering groups find that the intensity, frequency and duration of the episodes decrease when they deliberately and consistently use the strategies outlined below.
It is important to note that when one is tired, ill, or under stress the feelings of spaceyness, dissociation, depersonalization and derealization may temporally return.
By developing the ability to immediately label these states and attempting the following strategies, one can return to consistent state of mental functioning.
EX-MEMBERS' COPING STRATEGIES
Don't push yourself. Dissociation is an acquired habit, so it will take time break.
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