Therapy for Dissociative Parts

I mentioned in a blog two weeks ago that Helper Julie had spoken directly to my therapist. I will admit that the information Julie shared was then shared too quickly with me but now that the dust has settled, I have a very clear path of what issues I really need to work on. She was so “bang on” about everything that she said I needed to talk about and I will admit that almost everything she brought up were issues that I was either unsure about or just didn’t have the guts to begin talking about. It was very upsetting to me to feel like she’d “told” some well hidden secrets but that was just my defensive side kicking in.

I must once again question most therapists/psychiatrists belief that speaking with only the host is the best way to go. I’ve been seeing this therapist for the better part of a year and although we have done a ton of hard work, Julie has sped things up to warp speed. Not in a bad way though. Not at all.
While I was flailing around trying to figure out what I really needed to discuss and quite honestly having a lot of trouble with a few key areas where I felt there was more to deal with but I couldn’t make much sense of it all. Julie was able to offer a great deal of focus. One session with her will help my healing journey move along far faster than it would have before. I appreciate that a lot.

It has started to make me wonder if treating Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) should perhaps have a different treatment model from other dissociative disorders. When other types of dissociation happen, there is a blanking out or retreat from whatever the painful stimuli may be. Nothing can be accomplished while someone is in this state and it is very counter productive. With DID, there is a loss of contact with the host but the dissociative part is a full and meaningful person with thoughts, memories, feelings, and anything else we use to describe someone as being human. It is just not the same at all in my opinion.

I will admit that I have even come to believe that while other dissociative states are considered a “negative coping strategy”, I do not feel that DID can be considered that as well. I do agree that it is created for a negative reason and it is the eventual hope of anyone who I know with DID to be present much  more often and have better control of their other parts rather than just switching with no awareness. That said, do we need to ignore these other parts or can we use them to help us heal? These parts are filled with information and answers. They have feelings and fears. They are really not all that different from any other trauma survivor. They need to be heard and believed.

By giving my “Helpers” a chance to open up and deal with their stories, they can begin to heal and as they heal? I heal too. I do not always even need to know what they are dealing with or healing from. I do not feel that I need all the nitty-gritty details. All that I really need to know is what I need to do to help them.

I suppose that for professionals that are not very familiar with Dissociative Identity Disorder, this can seem counterproductive or even harmful to the host. I can see why they fear this process but fear or concern is not a good enough reason to block healing that may not be possible any other way.
The person needs to have good coping strategies in place and must be mentally healthy enough to deal with what comes out but that is true  for any therapy session right?

I think that what is misunderstood is this idea that the person will be overwhelmed or shocked by what is revealed. Sure it may shock us, it may be very hard to hear or deal with, it may knock us back a bit BUT we deal with these bits of information and emotions all the time. We just don’t know why we feel the way we do. Having a Helper enlighten me on the reason why I feel a certain way in a certain situation only helps me. It is like my own “Ah-ha!” moment.

One of the issues that Julie brought up was that Julie is not her real name. It is what I called her because I thought she was my sister speaking to me. Her name is actually April. I really tried to absorb this but in the end, I felt very sad at the thought of not having a Julie in my life. That name brought me a lot of comfort. I spoke inwardly with April/Julie and asked her if it would really bother her if I continued to call her Julie? I have been using it for the 37 years she’s been in my life after-all. She made a deal with me. Typical of her!!! 🙂 I will discuss each of the issues that she raised with my therapist and she will be okay with me calling her Julie. At least for now.  It’s a deal.

How can I look at the therapy session that Julie took over and think it to be anything less than enlightening and positive? She was able to pinpoint exactly where I am struggling the most and what I need to work on in a way that I was absolutely unable to do on my own.

My Helpers were locked away exactly the same as I was for over 43 years. We never spoke of our secrets, our fears, the trauma we suffered. We never felt believed or heard. It was a very lonely existence for each of us.
I am not willing to go back to living that way. That was a life not worth living. THIS LIFE is a different story.

Best

16 responses to “Therapy for Dissociative Parts

  1. Early on with my therapist I had a couple of sessions when I blacked out and I only remember her impatience and saying that she couldn’t work with me like that – presumably because she was thinking it was the other types of dissociation you mention. She still talked to me in that state and seems not to have realised that I had actually switched. At least one of my alters was furious and wanted to end therapy after, but others didn’t want to so negotiated a challenge to the therapist to tell her that I did not feel safe. The therapist said that I had seemed fine after and she was upset by it, but I have no memory of what happened until I left the room. I think I switched 3-4 times, but I’m not used to it, or not used to knowing about it. I need to talk about that session, but find it hard to raise the subject because of her reaction (other littlies don’t like to upset people). Some of the others won’t speak to her now and feel hostile, but clearly they need to be heard rather than spoken at disrespectfully and with the idea that she is speaking to ‘me’. I believe that they were younger and frightened/angry parts and not capable of dealing with the information the therapist was trying to tell me, or to engage with her on an adult level which involved answering questions about my symptoms.
    Not sure how to address this issue.
    Your posts are always helpful and relevant to me. I’m a newbie and quite scared by what is happening sometimes.

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    • Thank you so much. I am happy to know that you find my posts helpful. I am still only 2 years new myself.
      Honestly? Finding a supportive therapist is REALLY hard and there are far more who do not recognize or accept DID than there are ones who do.
      IF you have any control over who you see, it might not hurt to check around and find a therapist that is willing to deal with all parts of you. Each one has very specific needs. In all my years of therapy, this is the very first one that ever willingly spoke to a Helper.
      If you still wish to go to this therapist, maybe you just need to tell her that you need to discuss your others and tell her how they feel about it all. If she takes it well and is respectful, stay with her, if not? I’d seriously think of leaving.
      I now see it like a doctor who is only willing to deal with your left arm. He won’t deal with your right arm, torso, legs or head. What’s the point of going to him?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your reply. 🙂
        I’d told her that some of the parts wanted to end therapy and that others had disagreed as they are desperate for help, but that the angry part insisted in taking part in the session after. There must have been half a dozen using my eyes and ears that day. She brought up the subject last session and I processed a little more of it. I’d given her my between session scribblings to read after much internal conflict as I had folded pages so none of the others would rip out anything they didn’t like. When I got it back I found that a lot of it was in a personal form of shorthand that she wouldn’t have understood some of it anyway, but it seems there was enough to gain a better understanding. I have explained things as best I can while dealing with the amnesia, but I find that with all sorts of professionals, they don’t believe anything until they see it for themselves.
        I’m now getting a referral for a proper diagnostic assessment with someone who has fairly recently specialised in DID and a view to tap into local resources for support. I don’t have a choice with who I see so much as it’s all within one service over one health district (UK), but I’m hopeful that things will improve and that I’ll be strong enough to handle any issues. If I’m not, then it seems I have a system with roundabout ways of making things known and certainly of taking care of me, especially as I learn more about them and stand up for them.
        Again, thank you so much. My life is not so chaotic or lonely when I know that at least one other person understands and your posts are really helpful to me. x

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      • @TinaBee,

        since you are in the UK you might check out PODS online
        http://www.pods-online.org.uk/partnersandsupporters.html
        They are pretty much standard in their approach, though. So buyer beware…

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      • I was happy to hear back from you. It sounds like you are really on a great path now. It won’t be easy or a short trip but by listening and caring about your other parts, you will really begin to heal. If there is anything at all that I can do for you, please do let me know. It was very lonely for me as well until I met another with the same issues.
        Also, I am in Canada and our system is much the same as yours. That said? Keep trying to find better help and don;t quit. Eventually you will find someone that will be able to help.
        Keep in touch!

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  2. Reblogged this on Darque Thoughts and commented:
    Excellent post!

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  3. Having repeatedly read the ISSTD guidelines for helping those with d.i.d., to me it seems apparent they really don’t understand this disorder on certain levels. It saddens me because most patients can only expect what this body promotes as they are considered the leading experts on the disorder, and yet most seem unwilling to listen to those of us in the trenches…

    Sam

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I respect the professionals, I wonder if they really ever speak to anyone but themselves and make decisions based on what they know best at the time. I feel they do. All well and good but how about speaking to those people who have had or are having real success in dealing with this disorder.
      Maybe years from now they will look back and see how barbaric this is.

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  4. I agree with so much of this.

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  5. I really needed to see this. Thanks Julie/April. Brooke is my Julie and I’m trying to hold her back as I don’t think I can deal. I hope I can. Glad you did. Thanks so much for soothing this heather

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    • Hey there. Take your time and only do what feels right. Usually the main alter really has your best interests at heart and getting on side with them can really help but you need to be ready and it takes awhile to feel that way. Thinking of you!

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  6. Reblogged this on adifferentlifebeinglived and commented:
    Refreshing to know they are our helpers. Will need to read again over and over so I don’t forget

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  7. I am in the process of finding a new therapist for mainly this very reason. I believe each of my peeps needs to be heard, believed and respected and talk therapy isn’t right for all of them. I am hoping to find someone who will offer play therapy, art therapy, etc to help all of us feel safe and accepted. I don’t believe we can achieve true healing until all of us are healed.
    Thanks for sharing this.

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    • Oh I really hope that you can find someone. I’ve only done it once (on purpose) but the benefits were huge. Each part needs to feel heard to help them heal. I have come to feel there is just no other way. Le me know how it goes!

      Like

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