WHAT IS DISSOCIATVE IDENTITY DISORDER?
DID, dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder is estimated to occur in one percent of the population. Individuals with DID have two or more personality states often referred to as “alters”. DID is the result of consistent early childhood trauma whereby the only way to psychologically survive their circumstances was for the child to dissociate so completely that “alter” personalities were born into being. These personalities can range in age, gender, sexual orientation, and can be an animal.
The alter personalities play different roles that have helped the individual function in the world. For example, one alter may be the one who goes to school another may play a musical instrument and yet another speak a foreign language. Many times individuals don’t know they have an alter system and have received a series of misdiagnosis.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER?
Sufferers with DID experience a wide range of problems. in their relationships with others and themselves When one alter is present and interacting with others people the “host” personality frequently is unaware of the alter’s conversation or behavior. For example, an alter may get in a fight with their boss or husband but when they “switch” the host may not know it. A person may wonder where new clothes from because they don’t remember purchasing them. Some individuals may referred to themselves as “we” in conversations and not know why. Often the host personality is the last to know about their alter system.
HOW I CAN HELP
Very few therapist work with DID and don’t know how or when to assess for it. Since I have treated DID I have this ability, however because it is extremely rare I rule out ever other possibility first. Surprising to most, DID responds very well to treatment. Yet this does not mean that it is easy nor that it is a short journey. People do not develop DID with out an extensive trauma history which must be worked through. I am one of the few clinicians who has the combination of experience of treating DID and using EMDR therapy to process the trauma that caused DID clients. When done properly EMDR therapy is very effective. However it may take a considerable amount of time before a client is ready to process trauma through EMDR therapy. In treatment a client will gain co-consciousness with their alter system, the alters will be able to collaborate and cooperate. Integration into one personality is not always the goal in therapy while some individuals may choose this goal others are perfectly happy and want to maintain their alter system as long as it is working together and they are able to function in the world effectively.
Please contact me for help with this extremely rare form of dissociation.