Complex dissociation offers many challenges for those living, involved in supporting and/or working therapeutically with it. The main aim of support is to enable the person with complex dissociation to be able to live their life as fully as possible while recognising for each person this may vary widely at different times and support needs will change and fluctuate.
It is important that therapists and all those involved in more in-depth support also have their needs identified and met.
Support is enabling the person to work towards achieving what they want from life by developing an appropriate relationship within the role that the support is being offered, working out together what is needed and what is sustainable. It is important that the person offering support is open and transparent within the relationship and respects and validates that person’s ability to have survived allowing their confidence to grow.
During spells of calmness, coping strategies, techniques and structures that feel possible and can be implemented during times of crisis are put in place; achieved through discussion and negotiation. Good support helps to establish a timeline that has never been there allowing an internal, solid point of reference to develop, returned to and be built on. Ideally the way in which the therapist and those involved in supporting works will reflect this approach of empowerment and self-responsibility within a caring relationship that enables real lasting change to take place.
There may be times when the person is completely overwhelmed by life and some roles will become more caring than supporting, offered still within the relationship if possible. At these times being able to acknowledge and admire the amazing skills people with DID have developed for survival helps to re-establish stability.
It is important to remember that so much was outside the child’s control, they often were a pawn in their own life while being made to feel responsible for everything; the need to feel they have choice with control in the present is paramount.
Sue Richardson’s use of the ‘5 Cs’, compassion, communication, collaboration, co-operation and connection in relation to working with the internal family also relate to external relationships and form the platform for supporting people with complex dissociation.