Dissociation is a common, naturally occurring defense against childhood trauma. Children that face overwhelming abuse learn to dissociate from the awareness of the traumatic experience. The trauma can include sexual, emotional and/or physical abuse. Dissociation may then become a pattern that persists into adulthood and can result in a dissociative disorder. In childhood dissociation can be viewed as a healthy way to protect one selves. The child is able to “put away” their emotional pain and grow without dealing with the traumatic experience. Often, however, there are other symptoms such as learning problems and physical complaints that remain unexplained until help is sought in adulthood.
Dissociative Identity Disorder is a condition in which a person has two or more personality states, which may alternate within the individual’s conscious awareness. These states hold different aspects of the individual personality and often function separately causing confusion and chaos to ones life. People suffering from this condition do not understand what is happening and often think they must be crazy.
If treated in childhood further damage can be avoided and a full Dissociative Identity Disorder can be avoided. Often symptoms such as memory loss, relationship and work problems, drug and alcohol abuse bring an individual into treatment where the dissociative disorder is identified. An adult is more able to handle the stress and symptoms of the early trauma than a child and thus is more able to work through the trauma and integrate the different aspects of themselves.
Good treatment by an experienced psychotherapist can help the individual understand their condition, improve their life and often help their different states integrate into a single better functioning personality ultimately achieving a more stable and joyful life.
Treatment is long term and often requires sessions of 2 to 4 times a week.
I have worked with Dissociative Identity Disorder for over 25 years. I have also worked with family members to help them understand the condition and learn ways to contend with the difficulties inherent in caring for and loving an individual suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.
As with all my clients, your unique situation is upmost in treatment planning. Please feel free to contact me for a limited telephone consultation.