Psychological detachment refers to a state where an individual mentally disengages/detaches/disidentifies from something.
Such as a traumatic event, a stressful situation or a particular person.
It is a form of emotional coping strategy that can help individuals distance themselves from distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings tied to past experiences.
This doesn’t mean ignoring or denying the event’s occurrence or its impact.
Instead, it’s about changing how you engage with those thoughts and memories, allowing you to minimize their emotional impact over time.
Here’s how psychological detachment works as a form of healing from traumatic life experiences:
1. **Reduction of Rumination:**
Psychological detachment helps reduce rumination, which is the constant replaying of distressing events in one’s mind. By creating mental distance from the traumatic event, it becomes easier to stop the cycle of negative thoughts.
2. **Objectivity and Perspective:**
Psychological detachment allows individuals to view the traumatic event from a more objective standpoint. This can enable a better understanding of the event and its impact, leading to new insights and the ability to reframe the experience in a less distressing way.
3. **Emotional Regulation:**
Psychological detachment can help regulate intense emotional responses associated with traumatic memories. By distancing oneself mentally, the emotional reactions to these memories can become less immediate and less overwhelming.
4. **Prevention of Over-identification:**
Over-identification with trauma can lead to a person defining themselves by their traumatic experiences. Psychological detachment helps to separate one’s identity from the trauma, reinforcing the understanding that although the traumatic event happened to them, it does not define them.
5. **Facilitation of Healing:**
By reducing the emotional intensity tied to traumatic memories, individuals can begin to heal. They can start to build new, positive experiences and associations that help in moving forward.
It’s essential to note that psychological detachment is not about avoidance or denial. These strategies can often lead to more harm than good.
Instead, detachment is about changing your relationship with the trauma, not attempting to erase it.
In many cases, professional help is beneficial in navigating this complex process, as they can provide guidance and support while ensuring that the approach is healthy and beneficial for the individual’s overall wellbeing.