Types of Treatment

“As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on ... It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it.”

― Deborah Bray Haddock, The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook

DID Research

Types of Treatment

 

Image: "Doctor Advises Patient" by Bill Branson

•Talk Therapy - An umbrella of therapies including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family therapy. These therapies all involve verbal interaction between a client and their therapist

•Psychotherapy- A type of therapy that involves talking about one’s past in order to overcome their current difficulties. The goal is to help the client understand more about themself, improve their relationships, and boost their mood

•Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)- A type of therapy that focuses on improving the client’s present life through examining how their beliefs and thoughts are linked to and affecting their behavior and feelings. It helps clients to restructure their thoughts to be healthier and more realistic and their behavior to be more beneficial

•Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)- A type of therapy that is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that is particularly aimed at those with borderline personality disorder who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions. It focuses on the present and both validates the client’s emotions while coaching them to change their emotional reactions

•Interpersonal Therapy- A type of therapy that focuses on interpersonal relationships and how socialization and social losses can interaction with and trigger mental illnesses

•Family Therapy- A type of therapy in which the whole nuclear family is met with so that the relationships between individual members can be explored and so that communication between members can be improved. This type of therapy is helpful for when one family member’s mental, emotional, or behavioral problems are affecting the whole family, when there is a divorce or death in the family, or when someone in the family has a drug or alcohol addiction

•Group Therapy- A type of therapy in which individuals with similar problems, disorders, or histories meet together with a therapist. This allows for support and advice to be shared in a way that helps to relieve feelings of isolation

•Exposure Therapy- A type of therapy in which gradual and controlled exposure to an averse stimuli is used to overcome phobias

•Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)- A type of therapy in which bilateral eye movements, audio tones, or tapping are used to help desensitize a client to a distressing or traumatic memory. This type of therapy is typically used to treat posttraumatic stress disorder

•Hypnotherapy- A type of therapy in which guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention are used to achieve a trance state in which one’s awareness, openness, and susceptibility are heightened. Hypnotherapy can help a person to explore painful thoughts, memories, or feelings. However, there is a lot of doubt around its ability to help people to break bad habits, and using hypnosis for any memory related process runs the risk of “contaminating” real memories or creating false memories. Poorly administered hypnotherapy during “recovered memory therapy” of the 1980s and 1990s contributed to many false memories of childhood abuse. Hypnotherapy should not be used to treat dissociative identity disorder because of the risk of false memories being created, boundaries between alters being strengthened, or the client being flooded with real traumatic memories that they had previously been successfully dissociated from

Resources

 

More information about the types of treatment can be found here and here. Information about EMDR can be found here, and information about hypnotherapy can be found here.

 

More information about the specific treatment guidelines for those with DID can be found here.

 

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation maintains a list of therapists who work with dissociative clients here.

In the past we've worked with CBT, which helped at that moment but didn't have any lasting effects because there's so much to address. Plus we never really had a CB therapist who was willing and able to listen to different alters, so it was all from the host's point of view. That wasn't always helpful because the host doesn't do everything and isn't present in every situation.

 

We also had a form of psychotherapy, but that didn't really work for us because our emotions are often dissociated from our memories, so we could talk about certain memories without feeling anything about it.

 

We did a course on C-PTSD which was designed to get grips on your everyday life. This was a group therapy and it did help us on several points.

 

Now we have a hypnotherapist who's also a child therapist. We don't just have hypnosis sessions. Right now the hypnosis is used to support us in daily life, to help us through anxiety or depressive thoughts, or to help us sleep better. Besides that we talk a lot about different things, from both the present and the past. Sometimes we play games, and sometimes she challenges us to do something new, to take a step forward. The diversity of this approach seems to help us.

-Selene