If Resilience Can Be Taught, Where’s the Teacher?

I found the article below on a blog, Trauma and Dissociation, that appears to be a branch of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) although the blog does not openly reveal it. I wonder why?

For several decades, the ISSTD has been propelling and selling the concept of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). They do not include the fact that DID remains a controversial diagnosis and treatment option for trauma.

I wonder why proponents of DID usually ignore the capacity of the human spirit’s resilience when referring to the disorder of multiple personalities. The blog addresses Dissociative Disorders as a large umbrella, and perhaps it is not specifically referring to DID.

The author, Sara Staggs, states: “What was this training like?  Surprisingly short!” I’ve never read about someone being treated for multiple personalities, or DID, in a short period of time. The concept of short does not apply when being treated for Dissociative Identity Disorder. Rather, treatment for DID is a long as it gets often finding patients in treatment for decades, or for a lifetime.

The article by Staggs also addresses learned helplessness which is a large component of treatment for multiple personalities/parts therapy/inner child and others. It’s not a rare occurrence for a competent woman holding a job, for example, to be reduced to a blabbering infant or child personality who needs to hug stuffed animals and watch children’s videos to calm herself during treatment. Many people receiving treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder end up on public assistance while therapy progresses over endless years, decades, and often a lifetime which is anything but resilient.

Staggs states: “Empirical studies in this field are relatively new, but it’s encouraging to find that resilience can be learned to help one deal with future stressors.”

Is the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation failing to let the public know that their main focus is Dissociative Identity Disorder and multiple personalities which remains a controversial diagnosis? Buyer Beware.

“Martin Seligman founded Positive Psychology after he found studying learned helplessness to be kind of a drag (Learned Optimism, 2006). Most of the mental and behavioral health field operates by identifying some sort of deficit or symptom to relieve.  Positive Psychology seeks to help people elevate themselves to a higher level of functioning.”
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1 Comment

  1. Hi Jeanette,

    No, treatment is NOT a quick thing. We’re at year 6, though I’m hoping we are nearing the end. You know I come at it from a different perspective than you (and those at ISSTD as well!) and to me the hardest thing is reconnecting the various girls in my wife’s network; creating the ability for the inner conversation that normal, healthy people have. It takes a lot of work for my girls to learn to talk to each other (reconnecting the neural pathways between them) and I spend a lot of time during the day making activities that facilitate that.

    As far as “learned helplessness” goes, if I understand the term correctly, you have inadvertently misrepresented it. The term does NOT mean allowing littles to come out and act in childish ways. I believe it means a defense mechanism similar to when an opossum feigns death in the face of overwhelming odds. HTH




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