This article contains sensitive or potentially triggering content regarding fusion. Please take care when reading if you are sensitive to such content.
|integration (n., v.)|
|Other forms||integrate (v.); integrated (adj.)|
|Applies to||systems, headmates|
Integration, in the context of psychiatry, is the unification and acceptance of information, memories, and beliefs into a whole. Trauma can interrupt this process, and healing from it often includes methods to re-integrate, gaining more control over symptoms and better insight into the self. For singlets, this often looks like acknowledging the trauma and how it fits into their personal narrative or timeline; understanding its effects on their sense of self; being able to access memories of trauma without being triggered by them; and managing the emotions that come up when remembering or working through the trauma.
For systems, it can also include lowering barriers between alters (amnesiac or otherwise); increasing communication and cooperation; making switching easier, and more within the control of the system; creating more ownership over the body; minimizing dissociation as a whole; and establishing grounding techniques and other coping mechanisms. Most therapy specifically aimed at disordered systems (like ones with DID or OSDD-1) focuses on integration.
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Fusion is a type of integration that results in the complete lowering of barriers between two or more system members. Not all integration results in fusion, and treatment can end with the system completely stable & healed from most trauma, but still plural; this is called resolution or functional multiplicity. Sometimes, integration continues to the point where there are no more barriers between any system members at all; this is known as final fusion, and results in a completely unified self.
Fusion and integration have been used interchangeably in the past, as fusion was seen as the only valid path to prevent disordered effects; however, they are no longer used this way and have not been for decades in medical literature.
Dissociation, especially when it results in compartmentalization, can be seen as the inverse of integration; the separation of feelings, urges, memories, experiences, or the like from the self. "Fragmentation" has also been used in studies as the opposite of integration.
- Barlow, M. R., & Chu, J. A. (2014). Measuring fragmentation in dissociative identity disorder: the integration measure and relationship to switching and time in therapy. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5(1), 22250.