Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

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There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding common perceptions of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). While some psychologists disagree about treatment, others deny that the disorder exists at all. However, based on accounts of real clients and their counselors, it is evident that DID is a very real mental illness that in many cases can be successfully treated. In order to separate fact from fiction it is important to understand what DID is and how it affects people. First of all, the term dissociation is defined as “a psychological state in which the individual’s level of consciousness is altered.” (Fox p. 325) Dissociation has been described as feeling separated from the body. It is a detached feeling in which a person feels…show more content…
These techniques are all a part of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is treatment of psychological disorders and other maladjustments by a professional technique, as psychoanalysis, group therapy, or behavioral therapy (Dictionary.com). Psychotherapy is most effective when dissociative symptoms are specifically targeted. This means that the therapy should be carefully focused on the trauma. (Brand p. 169) While this can be hard for the client, it will help to ensure a successful…show more content…
With this evidence, it is reasonable to infer that DID individuals will respond negatively, if at all, to treatments that do not directly address their complex symptoms. (Brand p. 170) The process of addressing and directly confronting the symptoms involves at least two stages. In the first stage the clinical work focuses on making sure the client is safe and stabilizing their symptoms. This is especially important for symptoms involving dissociation, depression, suicidal and self-destructive behavior, and PTSD. Counselors often first teach their DID clients affect and impulse control skills as well as skills for communication and cooperation among dissociated self-states that take place in the second stage. In this stage trauma may be processed in more detail, working through trauma-based feelings, thoughts, and impulses. Once again, it is important that sessions are carefully paced and some stability is maintained. (Brand p. 171) It is best for the trauma that caused the DID to be processed by the host identity, or the original person, otherwise traumatization may occur. In most cases, it is helpful to identify alters and assign roles to them based on why they were created and what part they play in the client’s identity. To do this counselors often record sessions so that the host identity can meet the other alters and cope with the entire situation.

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