Dissociative Disorders

Dissociation is a psychological defense mechanism (usually as a result of trauma) in which the sufferer disconnects themself from the outside world. This can be done either voluntarily or involuntarily, meaning that the person does not know that they are doing it. Dissociative disorders fall into several different categories. These include:

  • Dissociative amnesia, in which a specific event or time period is blocked from the memory
  • Dissociative identity disorder, which was formerly known as multiple personality disorder
  • Depersonalization disorder, in which a person is aware of the world around themself but feels detached from it.

Symptoms & signs of dissociative disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling detached from reality
  • Lack of personal identity
  • Feeling detached from yourself
  • Stress
  • Distorted perception of the people, places, and things in the world around you
  • Memory loss or amnesia that is not caused by a head injury or physical trauma

When is it time to get help?

Since dissociative disorders are often coping mechanisms that you develop to deal with trauma, they were useful in protecting you in the short term – this is often seen in childhood trauma. However, if the dissociation lasts, then it is no longer serving you. At the least, dissociative disorders cause confusion, stress, and problems in relationships. At the other end of this spectrum, dissociative disorders can cause extreme stress, self-esteem issues, depression, and thoughts of suicide.

If you or your loved one is talking about harming themselves, this is an emergency.

If you, or someone you know is considering suicide, and is in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, please call 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency room.

For immediate help outside of our office hours, throughout Alberta, please call 211 or one of the following distress lines:

  • Edmonton: The Crisis Centre call 780 482 HELP (4357)
  • Greater Edmonton region: Rural Distress Line at 1-800-232-7288.
  • Calgary: 403 266 HELP (4357)

If you are dealing with the symptoms of a dissociative disorder, you may benefit from seeking professional help. You may also want to learn more about trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dissociative disorders treatment methods

The following therapies can be effective in treating this disorder:

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy encourages clients to accept the difficulties and misfortunes of life. Clients learn coping techniques to not dwell on negative emotions by staying in the present.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach that works to help the brain process information, memories, sounds, and feelings in a way that makes them be seen in a new and less distressing way.
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a treatment method that is similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) but emphasizes building skills to manage stress, mental health issues, and the psycho-social aspects of relationship building.
  • Mindfulness therapy is an approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves, others, and the world. The ability to be in the moment, to acknowledge and regulate your emotions helps you to break free from negative thought patterns.
  • Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses narratives to help people separate themselves from their problems, believing that the person isn’t the problem; the problem is the problem.
  • Hypnosis and hypnotherapy can allow clients to travel deeper into the unconscious or subconscious to look at and work with issues and ideas perhaps inaccessible otherwise. It’s like guided daydreaming: a form of relaxed concentration.
  • Couples counselling Couples are always growing and changing and can face an increasing or evolving number of challenges in their relationship. Counselling can help if you’re feeling unhappy in your relationship, would like to overcome a specific issue or problematic pattern, or if you’re interested in improving your relationship.
  • Strategic family therapy is a type of therapy where the therapist is a problem-solver and focuses on finding solutions to client’s challenges.
  • Structural family therapy involves looking at the structures within the family unit. Changing the underlying structure tends to cause a ripple effect on the family. This therapy analyzes the hierarchical structure, subsystems, and boundaries within the family.

Dissociative disorders are treatable. Your therapist will conduct an evaluation to determine the extent of the disorder and any underlying causes before recommending a therapeutic plan that’s tailored to you and your unique circumstances.

What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?

We can help you to address the stress or trauma that may be causing your dissociative disorder. We can also help you to reduce the symptoms that are interfering with your mental wellness. Our therapists are knowledgeable and compassionate. Insight Psychological has offices in cities across Alberta in order to better serve you and the surrounding community. Please contact us to learn more if you or a loved one have a dissociative disorder.

 

 

Brooke Hendricks

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Assessments

Loriann Quinlan

Edmonton South, Edmonton West, Online

Adults, Seniors

Terri Mulveney

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), LGBTQ community

Brandi Enns

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Sabrina Brady

Edmonton Central, Edmonton North, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Karla Buchholz

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality

Nikesha Deenoo

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Sexuality

Nicole Donovan

Edmonton South, Online, Sherwood Park

Adults, Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17)

Kathryn Maier

Edmonton North, Online

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, Assessments

Cody Cobler

Edmonton North, Online, Sherwood Park

Adults, Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, LGBTQ community

Dawn Doucet Banting

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community

Meghan Odsen

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Chantelle Owen

Edmonton Central, Online, Edmonton West

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality

Luke Suelzle

Edmonton South, Online, Edmonton Central

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Families, Couples, Sexuality

Kim Phua

Edmonton North, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Brilene Wohlgemuth

Edmonton South, Sherwood Park, Online

Adults, Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, LGBTQ community, Assessments

Dr. Hendriatta Wong

Corporate Services

Shirley Leonard

Corporate Services

Tara-Lee Goerlitz

Corporate Services

Trina Wilson Orieux

Corporate Services

Adults

At this time, Insight Psychological does not have therapists who specialize in this specific area, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you! Please contact us to talk with our Intake Personnel to find a therapist that is a good fit for you and your unique circumstances.