Background: Despite its high prevalence in all psychiatric disorders and its widely demonstrated clinical relevance as a marker of both clinical severity and poorer treatment response, a scientifically validated definition of dissociation remains controversial, and the understanding of its pathogenesis is still somewhat lacking. Furthermore, although most clinicians commonly refer to dissociation as a single unitary concept, the empirical evidence strongly supports the paucity of a one-dimensional approach to dissociation. Summary: Resonating with the clinical and neuroscientific data on this topic, this article aimed to provide a working hypothesis, suggesting that the wide variety of psychopathological phenomena that are currently improperly lumped into the category of dissociation are in fact produced by at least three different pathogenic processes involved in developmental trauma, namely, traumatic disintegration, detachment responses, and dissociation. Key Messages: This hypothesis should, therefore, be considered a starting point for a better understanding of the complex manifestations and processes that currently overly, attributed to dissociation per se.

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