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Full Merging, Unification, Alter Integration — whatever you want to call it

This article is a .

Note that this is a controversial topic in the overall plural, DID, multiple community. It is not an answer to abolish multiplicity or plurality from the planet (impossible), it is not for everyone, sometimes it is a phenomenon that happens without external intervention, and for some systems it is a goal.

Merging occurs when 2 or more residents blend with each other and leave their separated identities behind. A full merge means that everyone in the system has (usually over time) merged until there's only one entity left in the system.

Spontaneous merges can happen within systems. Usually a spontaneous blend occurs first, where 2 or more residents combine to create a new, unique, personality that consists of various traits from their combined identities. There is usually something "lost" as well, as there may be compromises on conflicting interests or identity markers.

Terminology Controversy

Listen to Integration Is Not What Anyone Thinks (020) New for early arguments on the controversy of using the word "Integration" when treating multiple systems.

integration– Coherence between different levels of functioning, which requires the linked operation of neural pathways in the brain. Neuroscientific research is revealing that integration is the hallmark of wellbeing (Siegel, 1999, 2010; Cozolino, 2002). Basic requirements of integration are linked activity between the brain stem, limbic region and cortex (‘vertical integration’) and between the left and right brain hemispheres (‘horizontal integration’). Trauma profoundly disrupts integration. In neuroscientific terms, effective trauma therapy entails repair and realignment of disrupted neural pathways (Cozolino, 2002). Note that the term ‘integration’ has more specific connotations in the context of treatment for DID, and that the extent to which full integration of the diverse self-states or alters of the internal world of DID clients is necessary (i.e. as distinct from increased communication and cooperation between them) is now somewhat contested.1

Note that there is now too much ambiguity with the use of the word "integration" by professionals to mean "full final merge" versus "emotional or sensory integration" i.e. coconsciousness.

This is not a mistake. The psychology community has no such ambiguity. It's not their lives at stake. For them THESE ARE ONE AND THE SAME. Because they already do not believe we are separate entities with our own rights to existence.

To psychology, we only perceive being separate; it's an extension of sensory dissociation. By encouraging sensory integration, they expect that by extension we will either merge on our own, or with some later encouragement. Stronghold system goes into an analysis of one of the more widely recognized and regarded books on how to work with DID systems that encourages pulling this terminology bait-and-switch on clients (offsite).

Thus encouraging "integration" in DID therapy specifically using that term is a willful singular-centric deception by some of the experts in the field. Read the Blue Knot guidelines glossary definition of "integration" (image &/or text excerpt above) — the term simply takes on this additional meaning when applied to DID. The concept of full merge is controversial, not the deliberate double-meaning of the terminology from the plural perspective. When clients directly ask about the treatment plan being handed to them by therapists, they are fed the first definition. The second (DID-specific) definition is willfully omitted.

If the singular therapist doesn't really believe in DID, then they are all one and the same. If they can sell "integration" to their clients under the guise of "sensory integration" then they can slip full merging in later on by extension simply by use of the one term with a double-meaning. This has happened to folk, and it's directly encouraged in the treatment guidelines as shown in Stronghold's article (linked above).

These ambiguities have created a very deliberate and deceitful communication rift between client & professional, and by accidental extension created hotly contested rifts in the plural community.

Many people in the world including much of the plural community overall still use "integration" in DID to ONLY mean full merge, while the official profession of psychology has generally moved towards the bait-and-switch of the broader and much more ambiguous "sensory integration" while, to them, this broader term still includes alter integration by extension. They just conveniently omit that fact when talking to plurals about it. (sarcasm)Why upset the bear?(/sarcasm)

Merging versus coawareness ("sensory (only) integration") are widely divergent concepts and the terminology used in a therapeutic environment should be clearly stated, so this site is being updated to only use "merge" for the concept of making blends between residents permanent, and "unification" "full merge" or "full final merge" for complete interweaving of all residents in an attempt to have only one person remaining within the system in question.

Note, this issue is besides the fact that they should not be discussing treatment goals they have for the client, but discussing what the treatment goals will be with the client as a team. There's already an inherent problem in therapy relationships when the decision on what to do in therapy is unilateral. That's an argument for elsewhere.

In addition, note that coerced or forced unification or full merges are not supported by statistics or evidence to be successful.

When is merging desirable?

Merging (by specific headmates) can happen when they are exceptionally close to each other, their perception of themselves becomes redundant, and/or they see how becoming one would be greater than the sum of the parts (synergy).

Merges frequently happen between fragments, parts, or parts and people. Sometimes there are fragments or parts that fit like pieces of a bigger puzzle, and they will spontaneously merge to become "more whole". Missing links, soul fragments (see Neoshamanic Perspective New), etc. bond together to become something more complete. One might not even be aware these merges are taking place.

We have used As Inside, So Outside principles to work on external world puzzles or crochet/knit projects while doing inner world work helping merge fragments and "knit" folk together into a more complete fabric. --Crisses

How do you merge?

Most merges take place on their own, in the goings-on in the system.

Occasionally someone seems to be missing or to have "gone deep" but it's discovered that they are kinda-sorta still there subsumed into someone else.

Some folk make a deliberate decision and "will" it to happen, or probably more gentle and successfully, "allow" it to happen.

Some folk do a ceremony, or make a bigger deliberate deal of it, although this is relatively rare.

The overall deliberate process is similar to coconsciousness: building up communication, getting into the Here & Now New as much as possible, gaining trust New, coming to an agreement & commitment with each other, then getting closer and closer until you cannot tell where one starts and the other ends, and finally allowing New or surrendering to each other in a trust that you can both coexist as an individual rather than separate entities. It requires an unconditional loss of the ego of needing to own and experience things for oneself alone. Beyond that, it's a mystery.

Many successful merges happen without having planned to do so from the start. During the normal course of pursuing healing, pairs (or more) of headmates will come to the realization that they've grown so close to someone that the idea of merging with them seems natural, practical, and desirable. It can happen to system members whether or not the plan is full merging or unification, or functional multiplicity.

Arguments with Full Final Merges

Why don't you integrate merge? Isn't that the mainstream way of dealing with multiple personalities?

Not all multiples consider their situation undesirable or to be of severity to necessitate psychological treatment. While it is acceptable in mainstream society to be one person per body, not all people are created as carbon copies of one another, nor is it necessarily desirable to move in that direction. Some multiples accept the way they are as a unique aspect of their being. As long as they are able to cope and function in society, remain law-abiding citizens, and bring home the bacon — it becomes arguable whether it matters if they are one person in the body or many people in the body. If everyone were expected to be a multiple, it probably wouldn't be desirable for singlets to seek out random spirits to invite into their head. For many multiples, the people who share their headspace are family and friends, and have worked very hard on upkeeping their intrapersonal relationships. They have no desire to integrate merge with their friends and family, and love them the way they are. Some multiples couldn't even figure out who the person would be to integrate merge into.-- XES

Some multiples consider attempting to integrate merge an act of murder/suicide, as in at least some cases, one of the people/personalities is subsumed by another. [Sounds cannibalistic. Eeeew. -- XES]

There are at a few examples where an integration a merge has occured and the whole is less than the sum of the parts. That's a legitimate fear.-- MRW

See also Merging Loss (was Integration Loss) for when you lose a beloved headmate or friend/lover to merging.


1 Blue Knot Foundation treatment guidelines (2019).

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