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Dissociative identity disorder and the process of couple therapy

Journal of trauma & dissociation : the official journal of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD) | 4 Jan 2013

HB Macintosh
Couple therapy in the context of dissociative identity disorder (DID) has been neglected as an area of exploration and development in the couple therapy and trauma literature. What little discussion exists focuses primarily on couple therapy as an adjunct to individual therapy rather than as a primary treatment for couple distress and trauma. Couple therapy researchers have begun to develop adaptations to provide effective support to couples dealing with the impact of childhood trauma in their relationships, but little attention has been paid to the specific and complex needs of DID patients in couple therapy (H. B. MacIntosh & S. Johnson, 2008 ). This review and case presentation explores the case of “Lisa,” a woman diagnosed with DID, and “Don,” her partner, and illustrates the themes of learning to communicate, handling conflicting needs, responding to child alters, and addressing sexuality and education through their therapy process. It is the hope of the author that this discussion will renew interest in the field of couple therapy in the context of DID, with the eventual goal of developing an empirically testable model of treatment for couples.
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Psychology, Process, Personality psychology, Sexual abuse, Mental disorder, Scientific method, Dissociation, Dissociative identity disorder
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