We all naturally avoid pain when we can. It’s a hardwired tendency that has a survival function. Dissociative disorders are simply one of many creative solutions to intolerable pain. In situations of intense trauma, the personality divides into various parts. As a result, this allows the self to function as normal. Consequently, it creates a disconnect between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. This splitting behavior is involuntary and be terrifying. People who experience it often fear they are crazy. When, in fact, they are extraordinarily adaptive.
There are three types of dissociative disorders:
- Dissociative identity disorder
- Dissociative amnesia
- Depersonalization/derealization disorder
Dissociative disorders are a way to deal with trauma by “freezing” unbearable memories. It’s an ingenious way to avoid pain, which is normal. But if the pain is part of your history, over time, you forget who you are. As a result, what was once a highly adaptive, life-saving strategy becomes a secret prison of shame and doubt. If you feel lost in the many faces, there is hope. The world is a vast repair kit. Regardless of what you experienced, there is room for healing. I look forward to being a safe place for you to find peace, clarity and wholeness.
How to Treat Dissociative Identity
Cognitive and psychodynamic therapy is the treatment of choice for dissociative disorders. I use these methods of “talk therapy” in treatment. Additionally, I work experientially by inviting the wisdom of the body, utilizing art, photography and visualizations.
To dull the edge off of hurt is to dull the edge off everything. The edge is where joy lives. The edge is love. We need the edge. When we dull it, we dull everything because you can no longer feel the full range of joy or take in the fullness of love. The worst is over. There’s no need to hide. You have survived. It’s time to heal.
The following is a free online, 28-item self-report questionnaire that identifies three broad symptom categories. It’s not a substitute for professional advice. It’s intended to provide feedback on your experience of self.
The following is a free online, self-report attachment style questionnaire. It’s been around a while, but it’s still my favorite. Like the DES, it doesn’t replace a clinical diagnosis but is intended to provide personal feedback.
Here is another free, online test. This one measures the degree of difficult situations you experienced as a child. Again, as always, it is not diagnostic instrument. It provides guidance and can give meaning to current behavior that may not be serving you any longer.