We aim to contribute to the scientific examination of people who have experienced childhood abuse, and in doing so reduce stigma and improve care for these individuals.



The Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Research Program, founded in 2013 and led by Dr. Milissa Kaufman, focuses on individuals with experiences of childhood trauma. Dissociative symptoms are associated with trauma spectrum disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative identity disorder (DID). These symptoms may include memory gaps, feelings of detachment from one’s body, emotions, or environment, confusion over one’s identity, and shifts in one’s identity.

We aim to identify and understand, in a clinically nuanced manner, the phenomenology, brain mechanisms, cognitions, physiology, and genes contributing to PTSD and DID and how they relate to both dysfunction and resilience in these disorders.

Using statistical, behavioral, and imaging techniques, we aim to document people's experience of trauma and its consequences, to understand the heterogeneity of post-traumatic adaptations, and to identify those who will respond optimally to a particular treatment. Ultimately, we hope to reduce the stigma surrounding these experiences and improve the quality of assessment and treatment that people receive.

Participating in the study was the first time I felt like anything good came out of my terrible experiences.
— Research Participant

SpecifIc Projects

  • Neurobiology of Traumatic Dissociation in a Cross-Diagnostic Sample of Women with Histories of Childhood Abuse and Neglect
  • Neurobiology of Distorted Self-cognitions and Dissociation before and after Trauma-related Treatment
  • Patient Perspectives on Disclosing Childhood Trauma in Medical Settings
  • Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of Self-referential Processing in DID
  • Naming Conventions in Healthcare: Preferences of Women in Trauma-Related Treatment
  • Voice Hearing in PTSD and DID  
  • Stigma related to Trauma-spectrum Disorders
  • Dissociative Experiences in those with Co-occurring Eating and Trauma-spectrum Disorders
  • Assessment and Prevalence of Dissociative Subtype PTSD