The Psychology of Resilence & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Dissociative Identity Disorder, commonly referred to as multiple personalities/parts/the internal child, is based on the belief that extreme and repeated trauma usually in the form of childhood sexual abuse, develops because the child is unable to cope and dissociates as a means of survival.

What I find egregious about theories and treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is that there is an assumption that patients so diagnosed are lacking in their ability to employ the natural ability of human resilience, or the ability to recover.

Theorists and clinicians generally do not discuss resilience, nor do they regularly encourage patients to employ it in their recovery. Instead what we find is the repeated assumption, or expectation, that the patient will get worse before getting better. Patients are usually not told that resilience is a human trait and that being stuck in treatment, stuck in reliving trauma, constantly digging for memories, or acting out feelings is not necessarily the path to moving beyond the state of trauma.

Not encouraging trauma patients to be resilient is a poor way to conduct treatment. It does not serve the client as it keeps the him/her in a state of trauma rather than keeping the client in a state of recovery. No wonder patients who enter the realm of multiple personalities and/or treatment for DID remain there for years, decades, and often for life.


Psychology of Resilience

Association for Psychological Science

Published June 25, 2012


“As psychological scientists’ understanding of traumatic events improves, so might the psychological outcomes of people who endure trauma. That hopeful thread connected the talks in the “Disaster, Response, and Recovery” theme program at the 24th APS Annual Convention.

“Most people are exposed to what we consider traumatic events at least several times in their life,” said the lead speaker, George Bonanno of Columbia University…

Bonanno has demonstrated through statistical modeling … over time most people demonstrate an impressive ability to rebound from a frightening incident.

“The most common response is actually resilience, Bonanno said. Roughly 35 to 65 percent of people who experience a disaster return to their normal routine shortly after the event, and stay there. …

Psychological scientists have also learned much about traumatic responses through imaging technology — especially about PTSD, reported Lisa Shin of Tufts University. Shin and her colleagues use functional brain scanners to measure brain activity at rest and then take measurements again again when participants are reminded of traumatic events. …

The good news, said Shin, is that psychological scientists are starting to find evidence that certain treatments can rehabilitate brain abnormalities associated with PTSD. For instance, some research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can increase activity in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex — perhaps a sign that the ability to learn when threats have abated is growing stronger among patients.

Retrieved 07/13/12.

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