This post has been written by Laura, the Email Consultant here at Discussing Dissociation. She’s new here, and I’ve asked her to write some answers to the kinds of questions we might expect people to ask.
HOWEVER, I am sure you will have a question of your own that has not been covered in the list of questions below.
Remember those articles about interviewing a new therapist ??
Well…. this is your chance to practice those skills!
What questions do YOU want to ask Laura ?
Hi, I’m Laura.
In my experience, people with DID usually have a few Big Questions when getting to know a therapist for the first time. This post will try to answer a few of those questions from my perspective.
Do you believe that DID exists?
Unequivocally yes. I have seen it. I believe in its existence, and I believe in the experiences that can create it.
There are so many different attitudes that you can meet up with in the therapeutic community regarding dissociative disorders in general and DID in particular, ranging from skepticism to dismissal to outright rejection of the disorder. You are right to be wary of how a new therapist might react to the idea of DID.
You can feel free to check this out about me, but I can assure you that I believe wholeheartedly in the existence and validity of DID.
Do you support integration as a goal in therapy?
As a specific goal, no I don’t. If this is something an individual feels strongly that they must work toward, then we can talk about that, but my personal opinion about integration is that it’s not the ideal target for therapeutic work, and it is frankly disrespectful as a starting point.
However large or small a system is, it is made up of many different stories that need to be heard. The individual members of your system need to be understood from where they are right now, and that is where I prefer to start. Simply there.
I believe that this kind of foundational work with your internal system is the first and most critical task of therapy.
Getting to know your system and getting your system members working together will reduce confusion and distress. It will promote self-soothing. It will explain and ultimately reduce lost time. It will help to introduce calm and stability where things felt chaotic and out of control.
Those are often the goals that people want to accomplish when they begin therapy, and they don’t require integration to get there.
In my experience, integrations both small and large can sometimes happen spontaneously over the course of healing work. There is nothing wrong with this. Integration should not be forcibly prevented any more than it should be forcibly attained.
However, if system members feel strongly about desiring to remain separate, there is no reason to push them toward integration.
What is more important is that your system is working cooperatively together. As long as this is happening, the individual parts of the system can be as separate or as merged as they prefer to be.
You say you work with mind control issues. How do you know anything about that? How do you know anything about DID at all?
I have not been where you have been. I haven’t experienced it myself. And even if I had, I could not know what your experience has been. Each individual’s internalized experience will be different, even if the experience itself is identical.
But I have listened and shared in the stories of a lot of people who have been there. Not as many as Kathy has! She’s been at this longer than I have. 🙂 But I have known Kathy for about twelve or thirteen years now, and I’ve had the opportunity to share a little of the work she has done in that time.
Even though each individual is different, there are recognizable patterns to how DID systems develop and how they work. They are not always a perfect match to every system, but they serve as a template and a starting point both for me and for the people with whom I work.
In the end, I know what I know about each person because we have talked about it and learned about it together. I know what the issues are for them, how they are the same as the general template and how they are different.
I listen and I learn, we study the templates and figure out how or if it applies, and we work out the puzzle together.
Can an email consultation really help me?
It can. Obviously it will not be the same as long-term therapy. I will not have the chance to get to know you the way I would if I were your therapist, and you probably won’t get to know me as well or feel as comfortable with me as you do with your therapist.
That’s okay, though. Email consultations can still be helpful to you.
Here are some specific situations where an outside consultations might be of use:
* You have a specific question that your therapist isn’t sure about. Programming issues, for example, can be difficult to understand because so few people do understand them. Even very good therapists may be a little bit at a loss when it comes to programming issues if they haven’t had much experience in working with them. I’ve had more experience working with these issues than most therapists, so an email consultation can give you and your therapist some ideas on how to approach these issues in your work together.
* Your therapist is on vacation or extended leave, and you would like some additional support during that time. Having your usual schedule change, and having your regular therapist less available or not available at all for a period of weeks, can be really difficult. A little extra support during those times can be really helpful.
* You want a second opinion about something. Not every change you make in therapy will be huge. In fact, most of therapy is just hundreds of very small changes all strung together into something bigger, like stringing a necklace one bead at a time. But every now and then, a very big change can come along, and as with any big change, you might want to talk it over with more than one person. This doesn’t reflect a lack of trust in your own therapist, or a lack of faith that they have your best interests at heart. Rather, this is a normal and healthy thing that people often do when there is a big decision to be made. Having more than one perspective can be very helpful. It can offer additional food for thought, or sometimes just confirm what you already feel in your heart is right.
* You need help resolving a conflict with your therapist. Again, this is not a sign of distrust in your own therapist, but even the best working relationship can sometimes run into disagreements or divisions of opinion. In the wider world, if you are having a disagreement with someone, you would discuss the situation with your therapist to help you sort through your emotions and decide on the best course of action, but what do you do when the disagreement is WITH your therapist? I do not want to get between you and your therapist, or serve as go-between, or take their place in your life, but I can offer a safe sounding board where you can work through the situation and resolve things with your therapist so that your relationship can be restored to its usual good working order.
What are your fees? Do you accept insurance? Do you offer a sliding scale?
As an email consultant, my fees are laid out on the page titled: DID Email Consultations with Laura from Discussing Dissociation.
I do not work through any insurance companies or offer a sliding scale. The price stated on the purchase page is the only price at which email consultations may be obtained.
However, there might be special offers available at different times! Be sure to subscribe to the Discussing Dissociation emails to keep up to date!
Are you available in case of an emergency?
Email consultations are not an appropriate way to address your needs in case of an emergency.
Emails cannot address emotional crises which need immediate attention, and a long-distance consultant cannot provide the type of support necessary for a crisis situation.
Further, email consultations are not intended to be a replacement or a substitute for having a therapist with whom you meet on a regular basis. Email consultations are an adjunct service only.
In the case of an emergency, your therapist should be your first point of contact.
If your therapist is not available, or if you do not have a local therapist on whom to call, you should contact emergency services or a suicide hotline in your area.
Thanks for reading — I hope Laura has answered at least a few of the questions you might have for her.
BUT…. I’m sure you have a few more.
Feel free to write your questions for Laura below in the Comments section.
We’ll both be glad to hear from you.
And remember, I’m still here. I’m not going away. I’m not leaving, and I’m not quitting. This is still my writing place !!
I’ve brought Laura in to help provide MORE support, MORE expertise, MORE options for you. We can do double the amount of good stuff with two DID therapists here, so.. you know… it’s all about doing double dog more for the overall benefit of the dissociative survivor community.
We’re ADDING stuff, not taking anything away. So please don’t stress….. I’m still here. 🙂
Wishing you the best in your healing journey,
Copyright © 2008-2017 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation