Medication-Free Treatment of DID and PTSD: Per Patient Request, After Medication Referral Completed–Case Study

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Length: 30 minutes


Dawn Brett, PhD, BCETS, FAAETS

Safety, self-understanding, a better quality of life, and a good prognosis is possible to achieve without the use of Western medicine if the person(s) seeking treatment so desire(s) and they have been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Working from a psychodynamic understanding, valuing the therapeutic relationship, and incorporating Eastern philosophy, the progression of treatment can be relatively steady in spite of the amount of dissociation originally experienced. Trauma dehumanizes people. Survivors experience the horror of annihilation anxiety in various ways. In persons with the diagnosis of DID, they experience this internally as various dissociated ego states. For persons with PTSD, annihilation anxiety can be re-experienced in flashbacks through various senses. In good psychotherapy treatment, genuine, appropriate, consistent, stable, and respectful behaviors are lived by the therapist and interacted with the patient in healthy boundaries. These behaviors allow for a sense of safety and trust to develop. With dignity, respect, safety, enough time, and the therapist’s knowledge of Trauma, and if there is a good fit between the therapist and the person seeking help, the patient begins to see him/herself as human. Teaching about being fully present and learning to appreciate things and soothe oneself teaches the ability to slow the mind down and allows a feeling to develop that there is beauty in the world. This also allows for blocking of negative intrusive Traumatic memories. Suggested for grounding and visualization are movement-oriented breath-focused practices used in the East for many years, as well as other items. The course of therapy is described for Mr. X. who has been in therapy for a little over 4 years and has been diagnosed with DID and PTSD. Within the course of the 4 years he states that he has only 2 dissociated ego states from over 30 initial dissociated ego states. He had been referred for medications, spoke with a prescribing mental health professional and decided to be medication free. He is a recovering alcoholic. He spent time almost everyday learning to “internally communicate” with dissociated ego states. For various reasons it was typical to use the “talking through” method during the therapy session to communicate with other dissociated ego states by the therapist unless safety was an issue. This facilitated good internal communication. This allowed the various dissociated ego states to see similarities and begin to “stand together” and then begin to integrate. He states that he feels stronger, less confused, and that there is more room in his head due to the internal changes. Mr. X. is a military veteran who not only had experienced childhood and adolescent Traumas, but adult military and civilian Traumas as well. He has attended a male Military Sexual Trauma (MST) group for approximately the last year facilitated by a male combat veteran where issues addressed include childhood and military Trauma. 

This presentation does not mean to suggest that this is the only correct way, or that everyone can be treated in this way.

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