“Dissociation as a Root Cause: Unravelling the Link to Behavioural Challenges in Children”

Speaker: Karen Andor, Educational Psychologist, Psychotherapist, and Trainer


Dissociation is often thought of as a form of zoning out, being out of your body or collapsing. This is certainly a form of dissociation, but it is not the most common form. Dissociation is the fragmentation of the personality into parts which take actions outside of conscious control. Dissociation usually originates from frightening, frightened, abusive, or neglectful caregivers and is the result of the defensive system being triggered by the attachment system. It generally manifests as behaviour issues in children which are often punished as these are viewed as consciously chosen ‘naughty’ behaviours rather than the unconscious protective actions of the defence system. Children who punch other children when things don’t go their way and children who run out of the school premises are often dissociating and have no conscious control over their behaviours. Understanding this is the first step towards supporting these children. 


 Karen Andor, an Educational Psychologist trained in South Africa, has extensive experience in various therapeutic modalities including psychodynamic psychotherapy, systemic family therapy, CBT, narrative psychotherapy, Theraplay, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, SPIM30, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Janina Fisher’s Trauma Informed Stabilisation Treatment (TIST). She has developed a therapeutic approach for children with dissociation, integrating elements of Theraplay, DDP, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and SPIM30, supported by Janina Fisher. Karen has used this approach since 2016, complemented by a workbook and therapy doll. In addition to her therapy work, she is an experienced Educational Psychologist specialising in neurodevelopmental therapy, including retained primitive reflexes, certified in the INPP approach and Rhythmic Movement Therapy. She has over a decade of experience in private and state schools, as well as local authorities in England.