Why So Much Trouble Finding Therapist for DID?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Why am I having such a hard time finding a therapist for DID? I have psychiatrists here who haven’t even talked to us start writing scripts for schizophrenia even though the only ones I hear are my alters. We have gotten to the place where for the most part we are co conscious an aware of the others actions and with the exception of 3 personalities accept responsibility for each others actions…We may get mad at each other when someone does something that gets us into some difficulty but whoever is in the body has to take responsibility for the whole….What is their problem (psych docs)?????

A. I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time finding a therapist who can help you. It can be difficult to find a mental health professional who specializes in treating dissociative identity disorders (DID). Relative to other mental health disorders, fewer therapists have received the specialized training that is often necessary to properly treat this disorder. Another reason it’s difficult to find help may be that therapists rarely come in contact with clients who have DID. It’s estimated that approximately 1% of the population has this disorder. Again, compared to other more common disorders such as depression and anxiety, therapists may have less contact with clients with DID and therefore, have less experience in treating this population.

You mentioned you’ve been in contact with psychiatrists who have misdiagnosed you as having schizophrenia. Unfortunately, even among trained professionals, it’s not uncommon for DID to be misdiagnosed as schizophrenia. You say that psychiatrists are quick to write you a prescription (presumably for antipsychotics) rather than exploring the possibility that you have DID. I understand your frustration and hopefully some of the resources below will be of assistance to you.

One website you may find helpful is the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Disassociation (ISSTD). Not only do they have resources on their website about DID but you can also search for a therapist who specializes in the disorder in your area.

Also, you may be interested in reviewing Psych Central’s information about DID. Another helpful resource is the Sidran Institute. They are a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and supporting families and individuals who suffer from trauma-related disorders. They have specialized sections of their website devoted to DID. You can also write in and ask for assistance in finding mental health professionals who treat the disorder.

I know it’s difficult and frustrating but please don’t give up trying to find someone who could help you. It’s a misunderstood disorder but there are professionals available to help. I hope these resources are useful. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Aug 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Why So Much Trouble Finding Therapist for DID?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/08/15/why-so-much-trouble-finding-therapist-for-did/

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