Treatment of PTSD & Dissociation

doorwaySurviving your trauma took extraordinary defenses. Those defenses worked well for you, then. But now you may feel stuck inside them. Those defenses now narrow your life, hem you in, and limit your choices. The old ways of surviving somehow keep you vulnerable, with a child’s coping mechanisms in an adult body. Therapy can help you liberate yourself, create a new life, expand your horizons.

In the treatment of PTSD and the dissociative disorders, experts in the field (Janet, Brown, Fromm, Putnam, Herman, Kluft, Frederick, Phillips, Van der Kolk, MacFarlane, Van der Hart, etc.) seem to agree on what constitutes an effective treatment model.   I follow their lead and these general guidelines from Phillips/Frederick:

  • Safety and stabilizing work and emotional issues. This means that we aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves. This work will take us time — the right amount of time — not too fast and not too slow.
  • Accessing trauma material without destabilizing  your current life.
  • Resolving trauma traces by working it through in a controlled and purposeful way, once and for all.
  • Integrating a new identity, new coping skills, and a deeper, more meaningful connection with life.

In working through trauma, many survivors have a paradoxical experience.  Because  PTSD and dissociation are such painful and disabling disorders, those who suffer them want and need to “get through the work” as fast as possible.  The paradox is that one can’t psychically or physically tolerate an “overnight cure”.  So one feels a tension between impatience for having to proceed slower than one would wish, and incapacitation when one exceeds one’s ability to tolerate the hard work involved.

PACING & CONTAINMENT:  In a well-paced therapy, you can optimize your healing process, working through the material as quickly as possible, but slowly enough that you don’t get unbalanced in your day-to-day life.  Actually, pacing the work in this way can help you get through the process faster than trying to do everything at once!  The reason is that the pace of the work has to be balanced by your ability to contain the difficult stuff as you process your way through it.

THE GOOD NEWS is that even though they are very serious disorders, PTSD and the various forms of DID generally respond very well to psychotherapy.  To greater or lesser degrees, you CAN leave the past behind.

I HAVE OVER 20 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE in helping people who suffer from the most difficult problems, including complex childhood trauma and abuse, depression, dissociation, hopeless parenting challenges, deadlocked relationships, dread, anxiety, and interpersonal violence.

YOU HAVE limitless resources inside you to help you to

OVERCOME whatever overwhelmed you in


YOU HAVE a creative

RESILIENCE & an unwavering

INNER STRENGTH whether you know it or not!

You can live a more spacious life.   

I can help.



The artwork on this page is copyrighted © 2015 by Marilee Snyder on behalf of the artist, and may not be reproduced in any form without the artist’s express written permission.


More about Trauma and Dissociation:

ISSTDTrauma Pages

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