Eli Somer

Eli Somer
University of Haifa | haifa · School of Social Work

Ph.D.

About

139
Publications
143,321
Reads
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2,259
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 1990 - present
University of Haifa
Position
  • Full clinical professor
January 1990 - present
University of Haifa
Education
September 1981 - August 1984
University of Florida
Field of study
  • Counseling Psychology
October 1976 - August 1980
University of Haifa
Field of study
  • Clinical Psychology
October 1973 - August 1976
University of Haifa
Field of study
  • Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology

Publications

Publications (139)
Data
Our research explores the amplifying effect of materialism on the experience of traumatic stress and maladaptive consumption via both an Israeli field study and a U.S. national survey. Our field study assesses the moderating impact of materialism upon both traumatic stress and maladaptive consumption among participants from an Israeli town under te...
Article
Full-text available
Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning. This qualitative inquiry explored the nature and experience of MD. Six patients in a trauma practice were identified as displaying MD. Four participants were diagnosed as suffering fro...
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Previous studies on survivors of childhood trauma documented associations between psychological dysregulation, impulsivity, and both behavioral and emotional manifestations of distress. Yet, the mechanism that links these variables remains unclear. The current study aims to examine the pattern of relations between a history of child abuse, impulsiv...
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Objective: Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) entails excessive immersion and engagement in complex fantasy worlds, causing distress and impairing functioning. Maladaptive Daydreamers often report that existing diagnostic labels are unhelpful for them. Previous studies reported high rates of comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among...
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Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all countries have employed varying degrees of lockdown measures to limit the spread of the infection. Previous studies showed that individuals with maladaptive daydreaming (MD) are affected negatively by the lockdown. In this study, we explored a set of lockdown measures (e.g., self-quarantine)...
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Reality shifting (RS) is a trendy mental activity that emerged abruptly following the flare-up of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and seems to be practiced mainly by members of the post-millennial generation. RS, described as the experience of being able to transcend one’s physical confines and visit alternate, mostly fictional, universes, is discuss...
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In this study, we analyzed the responses of 539 adults who met an evidence-based criterion of probable maladaptive daydreaming (MD) and met the description of at least one of the following personality facets: grandiosity, separation insecurity, and anhedonia. Respondents reporting grandiosity tended to use their fantasies as a means for wish-fulfil...
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During the COVID-19 outbreak, individuals with or without mental disorders may resort to dysfunctional psychological strategies that could trigger or heighten their emotional distress. The current study aims to explore the links between maladaptive daydreaming (MD, i.e., a compulsive fantasy activity associated with distress and psychological impa...
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the association between depression and certain daydreaming factors on daily positive and negative emotions experienced by individuals with maladaptive daydreaming (MD). MD intensity, MD frequency, depression, daydreaming themes, and positive/negative emotions were measured daily for 14 days in a sample of 10...
Chapter
Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is a distinct clinical condition entailing an extensive addictive-compulsive immersion in vivid fantasy featuring complex scenarios, which causes distress or interference with daily functioning. It is often activated while listening to evocative music and accompanied by stereotypical movements. MD is strongly related to...
Article
Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) is a newly proposed mental disorder characterized by excessive, vivid fantasy activity impairing functioning. There is a high comorbidity of MD with Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Symptoms (OCSS), yet the mechanisms responsible for this relationship are still unclear. The present study set out to explore the relationship...
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The surname of the second author of this article, Hisham Motkal Abu-Rayya, was misspelled in the article. Please note that the correct spelling of the second author’s surname is Abu-Rayya (not “Abu-Raya”).
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading globally since December 2019, bringing with it anxieties, mortal risk, and agonizing psychological suffering. This study aimed to explore the relationship between maladaptive daydreaming (MD)-an addictive mental behavior to vivid fantasy associated with distress and functional impairment-and forced COVID-19...
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Background and aims: Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) is a proposed mental disorder, in which absorption in rich, narrative fantasy becomes addictive and compulsive, resulting in emotional, social, vocational, or academic dysfunction. Most studies on MD were carried out on aggregated international samples, using translated versions of the of the Malada...
Article
We analyzed responses of 539 adults who met an evidence-based criterion for probable maladaptive daydreaming (MD). Their reported childhood traumata were associated with the utilization of MD to distract from painful memories. A history of childhood physical and emotional neglect as well as emotional abuse was associated with daydreaming aimed to r...
Article
This study explored the network structure of Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD), and links between MD and emotional regulation difficulties. Participants (n = 542) completed an online survey on MD and emotional regulation difficulties. Two network models were estimated. In the MD-only network, items clustered in three communities, most items were positiv...
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Cross-sectional and experimental research have shown that task-unrelated thoughts (i.e., mind wandering) relate to sleep disturbances, but there is little research on whether this association generalizes to the day-level and other kinds of task-unrelated mentation. We employed a longitudinal daily diary design to examine the within-person and betwe...
Article
Maladaptive daydreaming is a proposed disorder characterized by excessive daydreaming that causes subjective distress and/or interferes with function. The daydreaming involves complex inner worlds, characters, and plots that are understood by the person as fantasy, and the daydreaming may occupy many hours per day. The disorder has good reliability...
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Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is an excessive and vivid fantasy activity that interferes with individual's normal functioning and can result in severe distress. Research has shown that MD is a clinical condition associated with a number of personal, interpersonal and behavioral problems. Therefore, a need exists to differentiate MD from other mental...
Article
Daydreaming is important for creativity and the understanding of our minds and those of others. However, some adults daydream to such an extreme degree that the behavior becomes disruptive; a condition known as maladaptive daydreaming (MD). We propose that highly immersive daydreaming is not always maladaptive, and immersive characteristics of dayd...
Article
We measured maladaptive daydreaming (MD) and psychosocial indices among 194 participants, aged 18-56 years: 99 female survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and 95 control respondents with no reported history of sexual abuse. Our data show that survivors of CSA scored higher on MD compared to controls. Survivors of CSA with probable MD scored hi...
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The main purpose of this paper was to examine whether patients recovering from substance use disorder (R-SUD) engage in an absorptive mental activity known as maladaptive daydreaming (MD). One hundred eighty Israeli Arab men participated in this study. Of them, 100 were R-SUD patients receiving care from a government agency and 80 constituted a non...
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Purpose of Review The objective of this article is to identify the role of opioid use among survivors of trauma and to characterize the dissociative functions associated with this class of substances. More precisely, this paper will evaluate if the biochemical impact of opioid substances, such as heroin, has particular psychological effects on trau...
Article
Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is a newly identified condition characterized by absorption in fantasy, which appears to progress into psychological dependence, associated with substantial distress and maladaptation. This study determines, for the first time, the psychometric properties of the 16-item Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS-16), an updated...
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This paper presents an inquiry of art products produced by 9 individuals with maladaptive daydreaming (MD) who provided pictorial and verbal descriptions of both their condition and themselves. We found that the per- ceived benefits of MD for our respondents included the ownership of a self-controlled means of emotional reg- ulation that served as...
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A commentary on Ross, C. A. (2018). The potential relevance of maladaptive daydreaming in treatment of dissociative identity disorder in persons with ritual abuse and complex inner worlds. Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma and Dissociation, 2(1), 160-173. This is a commentary on In a recent paper by Ross (2018) compared maladaptive daydreami...
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A commentary on Ross, C. A. (2018). The potential relevance of mal- adaptive daydreaming in treatment of dissociative identity disorder in persons with ritual abuse and complex inner worlds. Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma and Dissociation, 2(1), 160–173.
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This study illuminates legitimization efforts in the discourse of individuals who suffer from excessive, uncontrolled daydreaming: a contested mental condition that has not yet been recognized by the medical establishment. It aims to explore the rhetorical maneuvers employed by these "Maladaptive Daydreamers" in 35 email exchanges with the second a...
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Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is a newly described mental disorder characterized by extensive mental fantasy activity featuring addiction-like longing for fantasizing, accompanying repetitive movement, and feeling hindered in everyday life. This study describes the first validation of a non-English version of the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS)...
Article
The current study assessed the incidence and associated features of posttraumatic stress after the experience of panic. One hundred seventy-eight participants meeting diagnostic criteria for panic attacks (PAs) were assessed using standardized measures of posttraumatic symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in specific reference to their...
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Background: Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) characterizes individuals who engage in vivid, fanciful daydreaming for hours on end, neglecting real-life relationships and responsibilities, resulting in clinical distress and functional impairment. Sufferers have embraced the term MD in cyber-communities devoted to this problem because it seemed to unique...
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Background: Evidence points toward shared characteristics between female survivors of sexual abuse and women with dyspareunia. This study explored, for the first time, similarities and differences between women who were exposed to sexual abuse to those with dyspareunia, in order to examine whether insecure attachment styles and high somatization l...
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In this paper, we explain the complex situation in which survivors of a repeated offence may, on the one hand, experience difficulties in retrieving specific memories of discrete events and, on the other hand, remember well the gist of the crimes they had been victims of. We also clarify the difference between verbal autobiographical memory of trau...
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This paper describes the course of psychotherapeutic treatment of a 25-year-old man presenting with maladaptive daydreaming (MD), from analysis of the underlying rationale through the treatment process to the outcomes. MD, a condition marked by highly absorptive daydreaming , consumed many hours of his day and produced distress, dysfunc-tion, and e...
Article
This paper describes the course of psychotherapeutic treatment of a 25- year-old man presenting with maladaptive daydreaming (MD), from analysis of the underlying rationale through the treatment process to the outcomes. MD, a condition marked by highly absorptive daydreaming, consumed many hours of his day and produced distress, dysfunction, and ex...
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Full-text available
Daydreaming, a common mental activity, can be excessive and accompanied by distress and impaired functioning in daily life. Although currently not formally identified by diagnostic manuals, daydreaming disorder (maladaptive daydreaming-MD) is a clinically well-defined phenomenon. However, research is lacking regarding the diagnostic reliability of...
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In order to determine the comorbidity profile of individuals meeting criteria for a proposed new disorder, Daydreaming Disorder (more commonly known as Maladaptive Daydreaming, MD), the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders were administered to 39 participants who met criteri...
Article
Full-text available
Daydreaming, a common mental activity, can be excessive and accompanied by distress and impaired functioning in daily life. Although currently not formally identified by diagnostic manuals, daydreaming disorder (maladaptive daydreaming [MD]) is a clinically well-defined phenomenon. However, research is lacking regarding the diagnostic reliability o...
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Full-text available
One hundred inpatients in a hospital-based Trauma Program in the United States were interviewed with the Dissociative Trance Disorder Interview Schedule (DTDIS). There were no significant differences for the DTDIS total score or any of the subscale scores on test-retest: all t values comparing the two administrations of the DTDIS were below 0.7, an...
Article
Full-text available
In order to determine the comorbidity profile of individuals meeting criteria for a proposed new disorder, Daydreaming Disorder (more commonly known as Maladaptive Daydreaming, MD), the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders were administered to 39 participants who met criteri...
Article
Full-text available
This study explored the relationships of childhood trauma, social anxiety absorption and fantasy dependence with maladaptive daydreaming (MD), a newly discovered behavioral addiction involving pervasive immersive, fanciful daydreaming that creates distress and dysfunction. Based on the responses of 315 university students, our data showed that MD c...
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Purpose While the 1948 Nakba represents the most significant crisis in the history of the Palestinian people, its psychological effects on its survivors in Israel have yet to be explored. The purpose of this paper is to examine the subjective experience and the psychological implications of the Nakba ordeals and the ensuing uprooting among the inte...
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Received 16 October 2015 Accepted 14 February 2016 KEYWORDS Absorption; fantasizing; mind wandering ABSTRACT This qualitative study describes the lived experience of mala- daptive daydreaming (MD), an excessive form of unwanted daydreaming that produces a rewarding experience based on a created fantasy of a parallel reality associated with a pro-...
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Full-text available
This qualitative study describes the lived experience of maladaptive daydreaming (MD), an excessive form of unwanted daydreaming that produces a rewarding experience based on a created fantasy of a parallel reality associated with a profound sense of presence. Twenty-one in-depth interviews with persons self-identified as struggling with MD were an...
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This study explored the fantasy activity of 16 individuals who were seeking online peer-support and advice for maladaptive daydreaming (MD). MD is an under-researched mental activity described as persistent vivid fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with important areas of functioning. We employed a grounded theory met...
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The purpose of this research was to promote an emic understanding of the dynamics that led a group of second-generation German 'Aryans' to tie their fate to that of the people targeted and persecuted by their parents' generation. We interviewed 15 non-Jewish German men and women who are permanent residents or citizens of Israel and who were born in...
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Transgenerationelle Weitergabe von Trauma an die Generationen nach dem Holocaust und dem Nationalsozialismus Kann man die Nachkommen nach dem Holocaust und Nationalsozialismus als " geschädigt " , " traumatisiert " bzw. " sekundär traumatisiert " bezeichnen? Für die Nachkommen der Verfolgten des Holocaust ist das keine Frage. Die durch den Holocaus...
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This study examines the importance of two suicide risk factors, mental pain and physical dissociation, among young people. Participants were 42 suicidal inpatients, 36 non-suicidal inpatients, and 45 non-clinical participants. Overall, suicide attempters reported a stronger intensity and lower tolerance of mental pain, and higher physical dissociat...
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This study examined the association between exposure to domestic violence and dissociative symptoms. A sample of 68 Israeli opiate use disorder patients in recovery, 80 battered Arab Israeli women, and 103 respondents from a community sample participated in structured interviews that included the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS), th...
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This study investigated the way in which exposure to traumatic stress, posttraumatic reactions, and materialistic values impact coping and maladaptive consumption behaviors in a real-life traumatic situation. One hundred thirty-nine Israelis were sampled from a town under constant rocket fire (a high-stress environment), and 187 comparison responde...
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Fifteen mothers living in Sderot, a small blue-collar town located 1 mile east of the Israel-Gaza border, all diagnosed as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), were interviewed about their experiences under the continuous threat of rocket attacks. Respondents described civilian life in a battlefield environment, an experience defin...
Article
Full-text available
Our research explores the amplifying effect of materialism on the experience of traumatic stress and maladaptive consumption via both an Israeli field study and a U.S. national survey. Our field study assesses the moderating impact of materialism upon both traumatic stress and maladaptive consumption among participants from an Israeli town under te...
Article
Full-text available
Depersonalisation-derealisation disorder (DPRD) is a distressing and impairing condition with a pathophysiology that is not well understood. Nevertheless, given the growing interest in its pathogenesis, and the publication of a number of treatment trials, a systematic review of randomised controlled pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy trials is timel...
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A commentary on Young, W.C. (1988). Observations on Fantasy in the Formation of Multiple Personality Disorder Dissociation. Dissociation, 1(3) 13-20 Eli Somer, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Haifa, Israel, is a past president of both the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD, 2005-2006)...
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Many researchers assume that the continuing influences of the Holocaust on its survivors are long-term, and hypothesize that its stamp is also present in the lives of the second and third generations of Holocaust survi-vors (e. g., Shmotkin et al., 2011). Not-withstanding, controlled studies have found that second generation Holo-caust survivors do...
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The second generation of Holocaust sur-vivors has been studied quite extensively (e.g., Sagi-Schwartz et al., 2003). In com-parison, research on the transmission of the Holocaust legacy to second-generati-on »Aryan« citizens of the German Nati-onal Socialist regime (or former Nazis) is scarce (e.g., Bar-On, 1990). Recent me-dia stories on Germans b...
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IntroductionNormal childhood dissociationDissociation as an adaptive response during childhood traumaThe pathologization of adaptive dissociation during child abuseChildhood dissociative disordersMemory symptomsDissociative process symptomsTreatment principles and phasesConclusion References
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Most older people who have been sexually abused in childhood have probably never been treated for the consequences of their destructive experiences. The character pathology and long-term effects of child sexual abuse are described. Parallels were drawn between delayed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder seen in older veterans and World War II victims and...
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This study investigated the influence of the belief in reincarnation (BR) and in the power of fate (BPF) as potential coping resources in the shadow of loss and bereavement. Ninety bereaved parents, Jews and Druze (a sect that diverged from Islam in the 11th century), whose sons were killed in military action participated in this study. Druze respo...
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Women with a history of sexual abuse (SA) commonly report greater pain symptoms. It is still unclear whether enhanced pain susceptibility is the result of altered pain processing and response. Therefore, this pilot study aimed to explore pain sensitivity to experimentally induced pain and associated psychology in women with a history of severe SA....
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Although early trauma is a well-recognized risk factor for both dissociation and substance abuse, there are inconsistent reports on the association between substance abuse and dissociation. This inconsistency may be resolved by the "chemical dissociation" hypothesis that suggests that some substance abuse patients may not exhibit high levels of dis...
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Surveys among Israeli mental health professionals found that almost half of them doubt the validity of dissociative disorders (DD) and have no experience in either diagnosing or treating DD patients. These findings, in line with arguments that DDs are socially construed North American phenomena, call for the need to investigate it in Israel. Eighty...
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The objective of this article is to examine the role of coping strategies in multiple sclerosis outcomes among civilians under a military attack during the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. Participants were 156 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. We analysed the relationships between coping and emotional distress and between...
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The military conflict that occurred between Lebanon and Israel in July and August of 2006 was characterized by the heavy bombardment of specific geographic regions in Israel, resulting in considerable civilian casualties and property damage. Israeli civilians directly and indirectly exposed to bombardment were compared on exposure to the recent bom...
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This study is an investigation of trauma and dissociation in 93 Israeli patients recovering from drug use disorder. The respondents showed more emotional, physical and sexual traumatization than consecutive admissions to an Israeli outpatient stress clinic, and their levels of dissociation were similar to those previously measured in Israeli patien...
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Using telephone surveys, we examined exposure to terror, coping, and mental health response in randomly selected Jewish-Israelis (n = 100) and Arab-Israelis (n = 100) living in five Israeli cities affected by terrorism. Jewish-Israelis and Arab-Israelis were randomly selected for study participation and completed telephone surveys in May 2002, foll...
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The present study was a result of an extraordinary opportunity to interview 23 women patients who had sexual relations with their therapists. The paper presents the phenomenological viewpoint of therapist-client sex (TCS) from the victims' perspectives. Patients were asked to describe their emotional experiences during the misguided therapy period....