Peter has a special interest in working with adults who experience severe dissociation, including Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Dissociative Amnesia, Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder, and Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (OSDD). Peter understands that seeking support for dissociative symptoms can be challenging, so he looks to work cautiously and collaboratively with you.
What are Dissociative Disorders
According to the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), Dissociative disorders are generally accepted to be caused by severe trauma, usually in early childhood. One well established model of dissociative disorders is the Structural Dissociation of the Personality.
According to this model, a person, who experiences overwhelming and unresolvable trauma, often from the very people they rely on for survival, will naturally “split” their personality into parts that “get on with everyday life” (e.g. student, socialise with friends, interact with parents) and trauma parts that hold the traumatic experiences. The more extreme, overwhelming and chronic the trauma, the more dissociation there is between parts. Parts are also referred to as alters, alternate personalities, selves, fragments, baby/little/younger/teenage/adult me, exiles/protectors.
Parts may be unaware of other parts, with parts experiencing themselves and other parts as completely separate individuals. Switching occurs when a part takes control of the body in which they reside.
DID and OSDD Treatment
Carefully staged trauma-focused psychotherapy Therapy for DID and OSDD results in improvement, whereas dissociative symptoms persist when not specifically targeted in treatment. Treatment structure for DID/OSDD, like CPTSD, consists of three stages: (1) safety, stabilization and symptom reduction,(2) working directly and in depth with traumatic memories, and (3) identity integration and rehabilitation.
EMDR treatment for Dissociative Disorders - Can it help?
People who experience dissociative alters/parts have often experienced emotionally traumatic events, often beginning early in childhood, that have profound impacts in the present day, on their mental capacity, emotional self-regulation, and interpersonal relationships.
As therapy unfolds, the relationship between earlier trauma and the formation and maintenance of dissociative parts often becomes clearer. Work by Gonzalez, Mosquera and others highlights the opportunity for therapies such as EMDR to safely reprocess traumatic memories. EMDR can augment an initial trauma focused stabilization approach with enhancement of mental capacity building, improving self-care, and strengthening co-consciousness. EMDR can be very helpful with reducing distress associated with intrusive memories that are experienced on a regular basis in the person’s day-to-day life.
EMDR reprocessing of memories with people who experience dissociative parts is done gradually, progressively and with buy-in from the person’s internal system.
NDIS Capacity Building for Dissociative Identity Disorder and DDNOS
Peter is experienced in the assessment of DID and DDNOS and can assist with preparation of psychological reports in support of accessing the NDIS. Peter currently provides NDIS Capacity Building supports for NDIS Plan Managed individuals.