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Ignorance around Dissociation Demands More Training for Psychologists

Dissociative Identity Disorder is one of those slippery diagnoses that clinicians are not only reluctant to acknowledge exists, but are also reluctant to treat. Simply put, there is a professional fear that exists around how to manage and treat DID which results in clinicians preferring to ignore it as a real condition affecting real people. Consequently people who do meet the indicators of DID are falling through the gaps and remain untreated and this will not change until training for psychologists is available to build a confidence in working with this client group. Mental Health Development Inc.is a small Australian based NGO who devote their time to raising awareness of Dissociative Identity Disorder and the havoc it can wreak on peoples lives and their families lives. The organisation firmly believes that there are many people in the mental health system with labels of complex Personality Disorder who are,in fact, people with DID. These individuals remain in the system inadequately managed, a source of frustration to many, and living miserable, hopeless lives that never really move beyond the revolving doors of crisis. MHDIs founders, Barbara Stacy, M.Mgt.,M.App.Sci., and Glynis Szafraniec, M.App.Sci, are both women living with a diagnosis of DID and have extensive management experience in the community and mental health sectors. They founded the Dissociative Identity Support Group Merging All Parts (MAP) Inc. in the early 1990s and documented their mental health research outcomes through postgraduate studies. They have presented on Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) at national and international conferences, deliver training for psychologists and other health professionals, and currently facilitate self-help support groups for people who experience dissociative disorders in the Hunter and Nepean areas. Their work in this field has brought hope to both individuals and clinicians alike by shining a light on the confusion and uncertainty that exists around DID. As trainers, they utilise their combined experience of living with dissociation, post graduate research and dissociation support group facilitation outcomes in their discussion of the impacts of dissociation on neural development, memory and recall, continuity of self and daily functioning. Their focus is often on providing this training for psychologists as it is this particular profession that is often charged with trying to unravel the lives and histories of those living with DID, yet they are often overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task. Barbara said: We show through our training that DID is not a label to be feared. Yes, it can seem almost surreal when you first start digging, but we offer insights, tips and methods of working with DID that genuinely work, that provide a treatment roadmap, and have been shown to result in successful outcomes.