What are dissociative disorders?
Dissociative disorders can be confusing and scary. During a dissociative episode, people lose contact with reality. They may have amnesia and lose the memory of particular times, events, or people. Some people report experiencing out-of-body experiences as if they were watching their lives unfold on TV instead of living it in the moment. In extreme cases, a person may lose their sense of self or inhabit a different identity for a time, a condition formerly known as multiple personalities disorder.
Most people experience an episode like these at some point in life, but about two percent of the population has recurring periods of depersonalization or derealization.
Dissociation is usually a way for a person to block traumatic memories or distance the primary personality from a painful experience. This could provide a mental shield from thoughts of past violence or other distressing events.
Many people with persistent dissociative experts take medication, but a skilled psychotherapist can also be instrumental in providing treatment for these conditions.
How psychotherapy can help people with dissociative disorders
Psychotherapy for dissociative disorders is complex. Experts at the MindSol Wellness Center employ a number of techniques. These draw from psychodynamic therapy, object relations theory, and the Internal Family Systems Model, or IFS.
IFS therapy works to identify a client’s primary personality or core Self. Other personalities in the person’s mind are like family members. Each has its own goals, viewpoint, and memories.
Like family members, sometimes these personalities work together, and other times they are at odds.
During therapy, the counselor and client work together to find the core Self and give it a voice. Then, they access the other personalities, which all try to help and protect the core Self in their own ways but sometimes work at cross purposes despite their best intentions.
IFS therapy aims to bring each personality into harmony so each is able to take on a healthy role.
This type of psychotherapy is more complicated than briefly described above, but counselors have successfully used IFS for decades to bring balance to clients who struggle with dissociative disorders.
Contact the MindSol Wellness Center of Sarasota, FL to schedule a dissociative disorder counseling session
Dissociative disorders are complex and may be a coping mechanism to protect people who have endured terrible abuse, military combat, or other trauma. It is important to find an experienced mental health professional who is familiar with all these issues.
If you would like to learn more or schedule a counseling session, call the MindSol Wellness Center of Sarasota, FL at (941) 256-3725.