S e l f : A Visual Study of Dissociation

S e  l   f : A Visual Study of Dissociation poster


Research Authorship:

Bear Cooper, Sheila Goloborotko

Faculty Mentor:

Sheila Goloborotko, M.F.A. | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Art, Art History and Design


Experiencing prolonged sexual abuse can lead to a shift in the sense of self as the mind tries to protect itself. Depression, low self-esteem, guilt –– these are all symptoms we frequently hear associated with the aftermath of trauma. They are mentioned enough that we consider ourselves familiar with them. However, symptoms like depersonalization and alexithymia are symptoms not commonly understood. This visual study examines these dissociatve symptoms by looking at the separation of the body and mind that occurs after sexual trauma. S e l f is an etching-based creative research to understand these psychological aspects of processing sexual trauma. This series was created out of a need to understand how sexual abuse affects the psyche. Diving deep into scientific journals provided me with technical indicators. I read scientific studies, took diagnostic tests, and reflected on how that information related to my experiences. This scientific approach then drove my creative process. I used acid etching and other printmaking techniques to create a visual representation of my experiences that built on my scientific understanding. This interdisciplinary method resulted in a more thorough investigation. By using both personal experience and scientific literature, this series of prints bridges the gap between art and science by creating a visual study of dissociation.

Portfolio of Work:

2 thoughts on “S e l f : A Visual Study of Dissociation”

  1. Karen Cousins

    Thank you for converting your meaningful work into a digital medium for the Virtual Conference, Bear. I’m so pleased with the results.

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