One thing that’s vitally important for those starting out in therapy is to determine what their short- and long-term goals are. What do you want to get out of your time with a therapist? The answer(s) to this question can even be an important factor in determining whether a particular therapist is a good fit for you. It can be helpful to discuss a particular therapist’s ideas of what they believe should happen in your life as well, to see if they are compatible. A good therapist will let the client define what issues they want to improve upon, and give honest feedback as to whether they have the skills to help the client achieve those goals.
Wellness vs. “Disordered”
People with Dissociative Identity Disorder are all very different. “Healing” and “wellness” can mean different things to different people. Don’t let anyone tell you what your goals should be, or what it means to be well. There is no all-inclusive definition or standard that all people can be held to. You alone can and should determine what you want that to look like. A disorder is only a disorder – that is, only a problem – insofar as it disrupts a person’s life and ability to function at their maximum desired level of functioning.
Most of the time, short-term goals involve immediate relief from distressing symptoms and experiences, like loss of time, body memories, headaches, and mental distress caused by alters being unaware of their pursuit of conflicting desires, and/or lack of respect or peace between inside parts.
Long-term goals can vary widely, depending on the system. Some D.I.D. systems want integration. They want to eventually be able to come to terms with whatever events and situations in their past caused them to split apart, and they want to have shared awareness of all thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and emotions, all of the time. This is integration; not that any part would “die,” or “disappear” – but rather, that ALL alters would be “out” all the time, together.
Some D.I.D. systems are comfortable being separate and sharing a body. They simply want respect and mutual cooperation on the inside, and reduction of symptoms like losing time, flashbacks, and loss of functionality.
Some D.I.D. systems want a combination of the two; perhaps a little bit of both integration and separateness. They don’t mind being separate but perhaps want less alters, and merging of some – but not others – makes sense for their system.
All of these goals are okay. Goals that are not listed here are okay. Once you have defined some of your short- and long-term goals, be sure to share them with your therapist and evaluate their willingness and ability to help you work toward those goals.