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YouTube Video Dissociation, Schizophrenia and Systemic Racism with Dr. Heather Hall

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Today on How We Can Heal Podcast, Lisa Danylchuk talks to Dr. Heather Hall about the different staggering studies that show the factors that affect trauma and dissociation and how some psychiatric practices disserve the treatment of trauma. Should trauma treatment be treated like checking boxes off a list? Dr. Heather helps us understand the ethnic density effect, how neighbourhood environments affect dark-skinned immigrants in London, and how support systems can never be overlooked in treating trauma patients.

How Attachment Works

By definition, Dr. Heather Hall describes attachment as 'the process by which trauma transcends' from one generation to another. For example, on parenting. If one is raised in an abusive and neglectful environment, it'd be almost natural for that person to not have any substantial model of how a parent should adequately be to a child. In this type of situation, a disorganized attachment can develop.

If a person experiences this kind of attachment, insecurities can and may most definitely affect their approach to raising children. From being raised in trauma, this person will then be exposed to another phase of trauma wherein they will not be able to function ideally in the face of a child they can't connect with. In effect, the person with this kind of attachment will also expose the child to the same disorganized attachment.

About Dr. Heather Hall: Dr. Hall is a board-certified adult psychiatrist. She has over thirty years of experience. She combines expertise in psychopharmacology and psychotherapy to develop treatment plans tailored to each patient. Before establishing her private practice, Dr. Hall was an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF and UC Davis.

She is currently on the board of directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and specializes in treating complex trauma. In addition, she is the co-chair of the ISSTD's Public Health Committee and chair of the Annual Conference Committee.

Dr. Hall is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, MA. She completed her medical training at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, and her psychiatric training at The Institute of Pennsylvania hospital.

Outline of the episode:

● [02:28] What drew Dr. Heather to becoming an MD Psychiatrist?

● [07:14] Some psychiatrists ignore a patient's trauma history

● [12:31] It's hard to be in a system that's not trauma-informed

● [18:02] A good portion of the homeless are trauma survivors

● [24:03] Voter turnout affects psychoses for darker-skinned immigrants in areas in London

● [31:46] With no trauma history, assessing symptoms may turn out like checking boxes off the list

● [37:09] The different factors that can affect a patient-psychiatrist connection and vice versa

● [43:07] From 'what's wrong with you?' to 'what happened to you?'

● [50:53] The importance of close contacts that are educated on how trauma history affects people

● [56:31] Dr. Heather Hall – on checking your patient's coping mechanisms


Website: Publications by Dr. Heather Hall: Hall, H The Role of Discrimination and Social Defeat in Black Mental Health. Attachment, Volume 15, Number 1, June 2021, pp. 88-97(10):

Salter M, Hall H. Reducing Shame, Promoting Dignity: A Model for the Primary Prevention of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trauma Violence Abuse. 2020 Dec:

Shumway M, Alvidrez J, Leary M, Sherwood D, Woodard E, Lee EK, Hall H, Catalano RA, Dilley JW. Impact of capacity reductions in acute public-sector inpatient psychiatric services. Psychiatr Serv. 2012 Feb 1;63(2):135-41.: Hall, Heather Review of Buried in the Bitter Waters: The History of Racial Cleansing In America, Psychiatric Services, June 2008, p 700:

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