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Abuse by Professional "Experts"

Article is a ! In progress not completed by any means.

The way many professionals treat their DID clients gives the professional power and control over their so-called client. In most client-professional relationships, the client drives the narrative and within limits controls the professional.

But not so in most mental health scenarios. DID is no different.

Here's some common issues in DID treatment that are abusive in that they rob power, control, mental health and healing from the multiple system.

Protracted Treatment Periods

When therapy is 10+ years and often several sessions a week, who benefits? Obviously it's an easy payment stream for any therapist to keep multiple systems in therapy. I'm not saying they don't need help for 10 years, but it sure does make it easier when you don't have to hunt down new clients very often.

We should question why treatment is often done in a less-than-efficient manner. When you devalue their internal support system, treatment will take longer. There's less internal support and assistance, more crisis interventions are needed, etc. "Stability" alone is insufficient to begin trauma work.

Separate from External Supports

Someone, somewhen, had a bad experience putting folk with DID into a room for group therapy. Maybe several so-called DID experts had problems with group therapy for folk with DID at various times. Yeah, no shit. Pushing boundaries, airing triggering baggage — not such a great idea.

But they unnecessarily generalized this problem to mean that multiples should not congregate.

Separate from Internal Supports

Professionals generally try to separate folks within the system, call them "just" parts of "you" and demean/belittle them. Just like abusers will talk down about your friends, try to limit you talking to them, cut you off from external support — many therapists are dead set on cutting you off from or devaluing your internal supports.

Shaming Authenticity

Along the lines of not allowing multiples to bask in the presence of one another, many professionals actively discourage "encouraging" the multiple system to be — well, to be a multiple system. They don't want to "encourage" the "alter" personalities to feel comfortable fronting. They don't want support groups or gatherings of DID folk to reinforce the idea that the alters are real.

But left to our own devices, we feel most comfortable in spaces where it's OK for our "alters" to front and take over, where we can discuss our experiences without people thinking we're crazy. It's a life-affirming experience JUST LIKE EVERY SINGLET HAS WHEN ALLOWED TO BE AUTHENTIC.

Instead, though, they discourage our authenticity and venues in which we can explore our authentic selves.

No better Trophy!

It's not a question of what's right for the multiple. In the culture of psychologists, it's all about the bragging rights for the therapist. How many multiples have you hunted down and "tamed"? Nothing less than integrating a multiple system will do as a trophy. No one brags about helping a system live as a group entity. The disappointment when a multiple refuses merging/integration is palpable. There goes the book/movie deal!

Refusal to Treat

Sometimes a dissociative disorder or plurality comes with a side helping of other issues — physical and mental health issues that the plural needs assistance with from their health team. Sometimes, having a dissociative diagnosis biases professionals from treating their comorbid issues. So a physical health team may refuse to treat someone who is plural, or a mental health team may refuse to assist a plural in finding appropriate medication for other issues, or case management, social work, support environments or hospitals may give the client the run-around and shuffle them to other units or professionals, citing "difficult patient" and exerting "difficult patient bias" on people for plurality.

Inappropriate "Treatment"

The flip side of outright refusal is not knowing what they're doing. According to McLean Hospital in Massachussets, 90% of therapists don't know how to treat clients with DID. Sometimes there's no other professional to go to. There are plenty therapy deserts out there. So a plural ends up at an office where the practitioner is clueless. They go on instinct, what they know from TV, movies, dramatized so-called biographical recounts — and they pull shit out of their ass. If the client has to train them, maybe they'll point the professional to the outdated 2011 ISST-D guidelines. They're outdated, it's like 80-pages of reading material, it's disorganized and non-procedural. In other words it does not say "Step 1: do this" — it goes in a lengthy, wordy, jargon-filled way about the business of explaining itself to the point that it renders the document impractical at best and unfortunately for foreigners, untranslatable and unusable. For an international organization to do this is unprofessional. So a friend says "I'm in Egypt, and there are no therapists for DID!" and we say "Look for a trauma therapist" but their therapist can't read or translate the guidelines in any practical way to shore up their inadequate knowledge on the topic. This frustrates both the therapist and the client.

Attachment Abuse

Traumatized plurals are desperately in need of consistent attention, care and love. Once they come to trust a therapist, they can be intensely focused on them, and it is all too easy to let the boundary between therapist and plural slip into something risky, damaging, or outright destructive. Therapists that encourage conversation or meetings outside of paid therapy boundaries, touch the plural, shower the plural with parental doting or love are risking both the therapist and the plural. An alarming new "evidence-based" style is attachment therapy. Once a plural is attached, until they graduate to full independence, they need constant care and attention that can drain anyone's batteries. And in a mirror of wrongs done to them by parents that gave too little attention, a therapist who gives too much can undermine the plural's independence and self-determination as the plural falls over themselves to keep their new parental figure happy. Some therapists get off on this — it's heady and addicting to be the object of love. Some take advantage of it and will abuse patients on purpose. At minimum, it compromises the plural system's ability to judge what is right and wrong, and since traumatized plurals already have boundary issues, it can lead to many other inappropriate behaviors. For more see Re-Parenting in the Missing Manual.

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