When a person suffers from physical or psychological trauma, an aspect or several aspects of their soul may split off to survive the event. In shamanic terms this is called soul loss. The soul being our life force and essence. In psychological terms soul loss is referred to as dissociation.

A shaman will journey to non-ordinary reality on behalf of the client to bring back the soul essence that has split off.

The symptoms of soul loss are depression, incompleteness, emptiness, feeling disconnected from from life.

Sandra Ingerman states that soul loss is caused from the traumas of modern life. Incest, physical abuse, rape, loss of a loved one, accidents, wartime experiences, major illness, and surgery can catapult the soul from the body.