Is this therapy? (NO!)
June 02, 2011, at 06:06 AM
In the field of psychology, the usual treatment for multiples requires years of weekly or twice-weekly meetings with a therapist to sort out the mental chaos. Psychology usually works on diffusing the most dangerous behaviors such as suicidal ideation and personal safety then heads on a quest to find the miscreants who are violating the rules of normal behavior ó exonerating those who are more well behaved at the expense of those who may not be equipped to know the rules much less follow them. Alongside this quest to uncover the meek, the angry, the hurt and the rebels, psychology works to uncover the triggers and memories that may have created these ďpersonality branchesĒ thus sending the entire system into healing crisis after healing crisis and creating what may not be a safe mental environment for the more precious residents to reveal themselves for years. In this way, conventional treatment can turn mental chaos into a B-rated thriller movie, encouraging full-blown episodes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In the current economic crisis, many people are without adequate health insurance to cover this mental health crisis. There may only be enough visits with a therapist to dissuade the system, temporarily, from the brink of suicide before discharging them from treatment. Adequate visits for the conventional treatment for multiples is simply beyond the current reaches of insurance. Those lucky enough to be given specialized residential treatment will probably still be inadequately equipped to be released by the time insurance runs out, and those who pay out-of-pocket are looking at heavy bills or spacing their treatments farther and farther apart to be able to afford the expense. Thus a treatment system that averaged about 7 years in its heyday now probably falls far short of bringing a multiple system to remission, much less the goal desired by psychology: normalcy.
The first problem is that therapy for multiples takes what seems like forever. One of the experts on treating people with multiple personalities, Dr. Frank Putnam, says it takes an average of 6 years just to get an accurate diagnosis. What that means now is that the typical multiple is an insurance company's worst nightmare, with frequent visits, constant monitoring of medications that behave erratically at best, and continual complaints that must make the patient seem more like a habitual complainer or hypochondriac than your run-of-the-mill psychiatric case. Once diagnosed, the process of meeting ďalterĒ personalities, of exhuming, examining, and desensitizing abuse and triggers takes about that long as well. And then, therapy usually turns to a process of integration or fusion of personalities into one another, another process that is always time-consuming. Finally, Dr. Putnam warns therapists and multiples that the first attempts at full fusion generally face several setbacks and relapses into the dreaded dissociative coping mechanisms. I think itís too disappointing to go into their methodologies any further. Face it, the process is tedious, frightening, and I think it is going about the business of helping multiples become functional people very much from the point of view of psychology and not the point of view of the multiple.
In almost any other field of consultation ó which is what therapy should be ó when you have a customer, you tailor your process and the product or service to the customer. You may make suggestions, but ultimately itís the customer who has the money, so itís the customer who should direct treatment.
So step back into the role of a consumer. Shop around, decide what you really want to buy into, and make your purchases accordingly.
United Front is a concept I've developed to help you reframe your experience of being a multiple. I have no interest in competing with therapists. That's not my role in your life. What I see is a lot of misinformation, clumsy and time-wasting attempts to "heal" multiples, a lot of pressure on multiples to conform with society regardless of their personal wishes, little to no education about what other options there are than full integration, exploitation and demonization of our diagnosis, treatment of littles like they're crippled entities and spoiling them rotten, a lot of excuses from multiples that make it OK to be bad members of both internal and external society, etc. What I'm looking to do is treat you and all of your residents like you are valid entities who need guidance to get along better, and more information and time to make an honest decision -- like any mature adult should -- about who you want to be 'when you grow up.'
Iím not here to baby you, excuse your behavior, tell you what you should do, treat you like a child (with the understanding that some of your residents are indeed children and need additional nurturing and age-appropriate instruction, role-modeling, understanding and guidance), spoil you rotten, trigger your traumas, dig into your past, tell you whatís ďwrongĒ with you, or allow you to waste your current life because youíre too busy reliving your past to function. Iím here as a life coach. Itís similar to a sports team coach. No matter how you did in the game last week, weíre now looking ahead to the game this week, and the training you need today in order to face the game.
The question isnít ďWhat happened?Ē The question is ďWho are you today, and how will that help you get where you want to be tomorrow?Ē Along the way that requires being self-aware, self-assured, having coping mechanisms in place for the times that things are difficult, focusing on today and the future and doing whatever you can to keep the past from interfering without pretending that it doesn't exist. This is almost the opposite of traditional therapy for multiples, which presumes that you need to go on an archeological dig and understand your roots and ancestors in order to move forward. Sure, thereís a place for that, if youíre interested in these sorts of things, but it is still possible to be a rocket scientist and go to work every day and bring home a fat paycheck without knowing much about the Civil War or where the first cave drawings were found. You certainly don't need to put the rest of your career on pause until you can find out.
No matter what your ultimate decision -- whether to integrate or remain multiple -- you need to get your life in order starting today, and the typical style of talk therapy with sessions controlled and mandated by your insurance or your ability to pay out-of-pocket is not going to cut it. Typical therapy for multiples makes progress in years, so I'm giving you an option that can give you results in days, weeks or months, depending on how quickly you are able to work and where you are starting from right now.
You are smart -- probably brilliant in fact -- but you don't have a way of working out your needs and desires in a helpful way. I want to use my experience as a guide to give you ways to figure out your particular style of being multiple without having to dig through your traumas and without the enormous time-expense of therapy.
So my answer to the question: Is this therapy? NO! However, if you work through it with honesty and great effort you will find that it's very therapeutic. I strongly urge you to work on this program along with the aid of a therapist if you have one, and to seek one if you have the means to (whether financial or emotional). If you are a therapist, I hope you will use this program as a new curriculum to guide therapy with your clients, for homework assignments, for building coping mechanisms and exploring optional goals of treatment.
If you cannot -- for any reason -- enlist the aid of a therapist to help you through this program, I may be of assistance.