#208 – Episode 208 – Dissociation Made Simple with Dr. Jamie Marich


Veronica has a fascinating conversation with Dr. Jamie Marich about how we dissociate and that we shouldn’t always view this as a bad thing. They also discuss alternative healing practices and talk about the question “What is reality anyway?”

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about this episode

At first glance you might think, dissociation has nothing to do with you. Actually, it’s a lot deeper than we think. Today’s interview is with Dr. Jamie Marich, three-time guest to the podcast and someone who I absolutely love. She’s here to talk about her new book, Dissociation Made Simple, and how it applies to all of us in different ways.

As always, Jamie gave me so much to think about. Their work is transformational and I can’t to share this interview with you.

About Dr. Jamie Marich

Dr. Jamie Marich (she/they) describes herself as a facilitator of transformative experiences. A clinical trauma specialist, expressive artist, writer, yogini, performer, short filmmaker, Reiki master, TEDx speaker, and recovery advocate, she unites all of these elements in her mission to inspire healing in others. She began her career as a humanitarian aid worker in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 2000-2003, primarily teaching English and music while freelancing with other projects. Jamie travels internationally teaching on topics related to trauma, EMDR therapy, expressive arts, mindfulness, and yoga, while maintaining a private practice and online education operations in her home base of Northeast Ohio. Jamie is the author of numerous books on trauma recovery and healing, with many more projects in the works. Marich is the founder of The Institute for Creative Mindfulness.

key highlights

Dissociation can mean a lot of different things

Dissociation is a spectrum phenomenon. On the milder end, we have things like daydreaming or retreating into your phone. On the more “extreme” side, we see things like major breaks from reality.

There’s a lot of interplay between dissociation and addiction.

Addiction itself can be looked at as a dissociative response. We do it to disconnect or separate from the present moment. Many of us who end up developing addictions had dissociative behaviors in childhood – like zoning out – that allowed us to go into areas of ourselves where we felt safer.

Growing up in dysfunction, you used your imagination to cope. That kept you alive in that situation, yet, as an adult, it essentially backfires on you.


Reality versus perception

Jamie believes that learning to live in the reality of her life has been vital in staying sober. At the same time, they recognize that we have to center compassion when going into the world of imagination is a survival tactic for many people.

A little disassociation is not necessarily a bad thing.

In the right circumstances, it can be very helpful, and it’s why a lot of us survived and thrived. The key is finding the balance so that it doesn’t stop us from living the life we want.

One of Jamie’s many exercises in Dissociation Made Simple is to ask yourself a few questions: How is it serving me? Is it causing more problems? Could it have the potential to cause more problems, or is it a lifeline?


Different systems of healing

Jamie believes that it’s up to us to define what we want in our lives.

Western clinicians typically assess whether dissociation is problematic based on whether or not you can “function properly.” The problem then arises with how we define “functioning” and the fact that it’s often very much measured by productivity and cultural expectations in our Western society.

While writing Dissociation Made Simple, Jamie did several interviews with indigenous healers, and she found that they had very different perspectives. In those systems of healing, “functioning” asks questions like whether you have peace in your life and if you’re connected to the true reality of who you are.

Jamie hopes that the book will help people apply both a Western psychology perspective and the larger global consciousness to figure out which parts of ourselves need the most healing to live at peace with ourselves and each other.

Healing as an art has taken place since the dawn of time. It’s essential to look at different perspectives and not pretend that Western psychology has all the answers. Indigenous perspectives add richness and dynamism to this conversation, and readers will ultimately decide their path.



No one treatment has emerged as the magic button for healing trauma.

The consensus from the 61 contributors Jamie spoke to for Dissociation Made Simple is that the best outcomes came from experiences guided by someone who could create an environment of safety and trust. For many people, that was a therapist, for others, it was a shaman, and for some, it was a recovery coach.

For Jamie, their recovery was made possible by a multi-faceted approach that involved her sponsor, therapist, shamanic practitioners, and other holistic healers.

There are very individualized answers to what helps a person have a transformative experience at a total level. Healing requires more than a cognitive shift. Working with our emotions, body sensations, and spiritual connections are crucial.

resources mentioned

Connect with Dr. Jamie Marich


Mentioned in the episode


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