Department of Counselor Education, Leadership, and Research
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Dissociative Identity Disorder: Practice-Informed Research For Counselors-In-TrainingDissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a mental disorder defined by the presence of more than one distinct personality state within an individual. Individuals with such disorder exhibit multiple selves (i.e., apparently normal and emotional states) rather than one integrated awareness, personality, and memory. This presentation is the outcome of applying research skills to inform practice and using said practice to guide the research. The learning experience was brought about by a counselor-in-training’s encounter with a client with DID and the journey to navigate the gap between novice counselor and experienced clinician with this unique population. It includes a case study of “Denise,” a review of tri-phasic treatment models including trauma-informed and relationally-focused methods and corresponding guidelines for therapists; a review of interdisciplinary (i.e., medical sciences, psychotherapy, and social work) sample techniques from corresponding grief and trauma work; and implications for further training in diagnosis and readily-available assessments (i.e., Dissociative Experiences Scale and Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule) for DID. To date, tri-phasic treatment approaches (i.e., alliance work, abreaction or relationally-focused treatment, and fusion) for DID are considered most efficacious when navigating clients through integration toward a unified sense of self. Introductory neuroscience concepts as they relate to counseling clients with DID are discussed.