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New research has developed a novel measure of dissociative experiences that share a subjective 'felt sense of anomaly'. This new approach could revolutionise how clinicians understand dissociative experiences across a range of mental health disorders, and how they work with patients with dissociation in the future.

Hand holding crystal ball for optical illusion

The study recruited 8,861 participants from the general population via an internet survey, and a group of 1,031 NHS patients with psychosis diagnoses from 36 NHS Trusts across England.

Dr Emma Černis, lead author, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, said:

 

Felt sense of anomaly is a new way of looking at a cluster of common dissociative symptoms that focuses on people’s subjective experience of strangeness. Although the concept of felt sense of anomaly is currently only a hypothesis, we hope it can act as a new perspective on dissociation and give clinicians, in particular, a straightforward way of understanding some of these hard to describe and highly distressing experiences.

This new approach described in, A new perspective and assessment measure for common dissociative experiences: 'Felt Sense of Anomaly', is important because dissociation is consistently under-recognised in mental health services, in part because it is so difficult for clinicians to understand and for patients to describe.

This new way of defining a subgroup of dissociative experiences - those united by a ‘felt sense of anomaly’ - and the new measure that captures these experiences will give clinicians a new way to understand, talk about, and detect dissociation, which is an important first step in potentially improving care in this area of mental health.

Research shows that the Černis Felt Sense of Anomaly (ČEFSA) scale is psychometrically robust, easy to read, and appropriate for both non-clinical respondents, including those reporting trauma symptoms, and clinical respondents with diagnoses of psychosis.

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