Treatment For Dissociation
What is dissociation?
Dissociation happens any time your mind breaks away from your current environment and focuses on something else. Do you ever daydream? That’s dissociation. Have you ever driven somewhere and not remembered how you got there? That’s dissociation. These and other examples happen to everyone and are completely normal. However, there is a higher level of dissociation that sometimes happens after a person has been exposed to trauma. This type of dissociation can cause someone to have a momentary (or longer) break from their own body, thoughts, feelings, memories and experiences. This can be scary, destabilizing, and sometimes make a person feel as if they are going crazy. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms the good news is that you are not crazy. This is called dissociation and often times happens as a response to past or current trauma. At The Care Center I have been helping people with dissociative disorders for over 12 years. If you feel like you might be experiencing some of these symptoms, please call us today to find out if counseling might be a good option for you.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
All of us have “parts” of our personality. There is the part of you that is a son or daughter. There’s the part of you that’s an adult/caregiver/parent/friend etc. There might be a part of your personality that is fun loving and maybe even a little childlike that comes out during a party or another part that is serious and focused and shows up at work. All of these parts of the personality are very normal and switch in an organic “behind the scenes” kind of way. This means we have no actual awareness of it going on. It just happens and is completely normal. When someone goes through significant trauma, however, this process can become interrupted and parts can start to function independently of each other instead of a cohesive personality.
What is this experience like? Consider this example:
Before I got married, I lived by myself and if you came over you could be confident the only person you’d meet at the door would be me. Then I married and my wife moved in and we eventually had some kids. Now there’s a 1 in 4 chance that you would get me if you knocked on our door. When my wife’s family comes to visit there have been times we’ve had as many as 13 people here!
For the person struggling with dissociative identity disorder this experience is like having no control over which one of the 13 people answered the door and knowing they would all claim to be me! What if I was supposed to meet some coworkers out for a drink and one of my brothers went instead and pretended to be me? I’d have no idea what went on during that dinner and he’d have to work hard to make sure no one realized he wasn’t me. The next day at work I’d be a nervous wreck wondering who did I talk to and what did I say? I’d also be crossing my fingers hoping that it was the funny brother who showed up and not the one who sometimes drinks too much and can be mean. Have you ever had any experiences like this? If the answer is yes then I don’t have to tell you how chaotic, destabilizing, and sometimes scary this can be. The good news is that with therapy this condition is very treatable and over time you can learn how to make sure you’re the one who answers the door and that your parts are all heading towards the same destination as you.
I started The Care Center with the goal of taking away some of the stigma surrounding dissociation and bringing practical, reasonable and highly skilled therapy to all of my clients. I am a member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, have participated in many trainings brought on by internationally recognized experts in the field and have over 12 years of experience treating trauma and dissociation.