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Dissociative identity disorder – complex problems requiring complex approaches

Dissociative identity disorder – complex problems requiring complex approaches

Presentations of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder are complex and associated with considerable comorbidity. They are often misdiagnosed and therefore mistreated, sometimes for many years. Further complexity results from rejection of the validity of the diagnosis by non professional sources such as a sceptical press and organisations such as the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Some mental health professionals, including some quite influential psychiatrists, also contemptuously reject the validity of the diagnosis. As a result trainee psychiatrists, as a rule, are taught little about dissociation and learn to react to those presenting with such symptoms with suspicion and scepticism.

This is particularly destructive to people with Dissociative Identity Disorder who, understandably, given their almost universally traumatic backgrounds, have profound difficulties forming trusting relationships. Mental health professionals are often on the defensive with their own colleagues when they treat people with Dissociative Identity Disorder. This adds to the problems inherent in treating such a difficult diagnostic group. In addition, therapists may experience secondary traumatisation as a result of problems their patients bring to them. A treatment approach addressing some of these complexities is discussed.

The need for commitment, validation and safety in psychotherapy is stressed. Biological treatments frequently need to be combined with psychotherapy to address comorbid conditions as well as ameliorating some symptoms directly arising from dissociation. Approaches to providing support for mental health professionals working with these patients are also discussed.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Psychotherapy, WCP 2011

WCP 2011

Defining the concept of spirituality among Filipino counselors and clients.

The individual and the couple in the context of the perinatal experience. A dream or a nightmare?

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Lateral violence occurs when the violence associated with oppression is internalised by those who are oppressed, and redirected between the members of the oppressed group. Among Aboriginal and Torres

Clinical dream incubation and body

For 1000 years during the beginning of Western medicine (500 B.C. - 500 A.D.,) of the hundreds of medical treatments offered at the time, only dream-based medicine was ubiquitously practiced throughout