Whose Treatment is This Anyway?

From time to time I visit the madinamerica.com website. I am also subscribed to the pods-online.org.uk newsletter. Through these 2 sources I came across Ms. Noel Hunter who recently completed her doctoral dissertation fully entitled:

“Whose treatment is this anyway? Helpful and harmful aspects in the treatment of dissociative identity disorder phenomena”

Noel Hunter, MA, MS

Long Island University, Post

I’d like to do a brief review of her dissertation in case any of my readers would be interested in obtaining the complete dissertation so you can examine it for yourself. If you read this blog, you are probably interested in alternative opinions about how to view and heal what is known as dissociative identity disorder. I believe Ms. Hunter is uniquely qualified in her search for what works in the vast array of treatment methodology when it comes to d.i.d.: she admits in her dissertation that she had been diagnosed and treated for d.i.d. However, in a recent email with Ms. Hunter she wanted to clarify her objection to the current bio-medical model of the brain and mental health issues and thus she objects to the diagnostic categories as well which would include her ‘having’ d.i.d. But she was willing to affirm her experiences in the past that aligned with d.i.d., but said, “I do not have these experiences any longer and haven’t for many, many years.”

As with so many issues, there is a ‘public stance’ that the experts take on a subject. For d.i.d. the ‘gold standard’ of treatment guidelines is found at isst-d.org here: http://www.isst-d.org/default.asp?contentID=49

But if you’ve ever studied a subject in depth and been able to ‘look behind the curtain’ as our favorite wizard from Oz forbade Dorothy to do, you will know that the ‘unified front’ the experts present to the general public is often just a façade. And for that reason, I find Ms. Hunter’s dissertation refreshing. She is willing to take the reader ‘back stage’ and allow us to see the debates and disagreements and dilemmas surrounding this disorder that many experts feel we are too ignorant to understand. Ms. Hunter takes us backstage and gives us a tour that has direct implications for everyone trying to cope with and heal d.i.d.

After a brief introduction Ms. Hunter jumps into her subject with a literature review of d.i.d’s history, the DSM, alternatives to the DSM construct, and various existing treatments both specific to d.i.d. and generic to the disorder but which are used by therapists. She then moves into a 20+ page explanation of the methods that she used to examine and scientifically categorize the interviews she had with 13 people with d.i.d. for her dissertation. Yes, this section is dry, but it is an explanation of the processes that she used to try to remove her opinion as far as possible from the conclusions of her dissertation. So if you like that kind of stuff, dig in. If not, you probably can skip the “Methods” section.

The next section she gives the “Results” of her interviews with her 13 interviewees. From these people she discusses the “helpful aspects of treatment” and then the “harmful aspects of treatment” that were shared with her from the perspective of each person she interviewed. And finally she included “helpful aspects” of healing that the interviewees shared that were outside of the professional services they received from therapists. From these results, Ms. Hunter gave 2 broad recommendations to therapists. First she implored therapists to resist the denial and disbelief that seems to pervade the general public as well as the clinician when it comes to the stories of trauma survivors. Secondly she shares the need for systemic improvements in the mental-health system that all mental health patients need for their healing.

The last section of the dissertation is titled “Discussion” and is the author’s attempt to wrap all of her findings up. She does not attempt to tie everything up into a ‘neat’ little theory. She seems able to acknowledge the mishmash and contradictions of her interviewees and the subject itself as she summarizes her findings.

In general I found Ms. Hunter’s dissertation very positive. I felt like she will be an ‘expert’ who gets that ISSTD and the mental health system in general have some severe shortcomings when it comes to its understanding and treatment of d.i.d. Moreover, she is another expert who is a part of the growing movement to expose the ‘biomedical model of the brain’ and how it treats mental health issues for the destructive fraud it is. I did not realize how fortunate that those of us in the d.i.d. world are that this disorder is seen as trauma based and not biologically based as most mental health issues are. But it still does not protect those with d.i.d. from the toxic spillover that the biomedical model of mental health creates throughout the entire mental health system.

However, if there was one criticism of this dissertation, it would be that Ms. Hunter felt the need to use words like ‘bizarre, strange and fantastical’ repeatedly throughout her dissertation when referring to symptoms common with this disorder. In my correspondence with her, I told her I felt like those words betrayed the legitimacy of the disorder but also showed simple ignorance about what was happening. I told her in my experience, once I could get inside my wife’s experience and understand what was happening from her point of view, then ALL of her experiences like panic attacks, catatonic states, the florid presentation of all the girls, etc, made sense and no longer seemed ‘fantastical.’ And once things made sense to me, I was able to help my wife through the various symptoms.

If this brief review has spurred you to have any interest in reading the complete findings of Ms. Hunter’s doctoral pursuit, she told me she would be happy to email you a pdf copy of the dissertation. Please email her at: Noel Hunter noel.hunter@my.liu.edu to request a copy since it is not currently available online. If you could mention to her that you heard about her dissertation from Sam Ruck, I’d appreciate it. Oh, and if you appreciate what Ms. Hunter has found, she is also a regular contributor to the madinamerica.com website.

Blessings,

Sam

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DID_Spouse
    Apr 04, 2016 @ 22:53:04

    Visited your blog for the first time. First, I want to encourage you in your journey with your girls. I know the story well as I live in a home much more crowded than yours. I’ve now interacted with over 40 of my wife’s alters/ identities since we began dating over 4 decades ago. Like you DID was a startling diagnosis…but on the other hand it explained so much. We are now 10 years out from diagnosis and each day is getting better.

    As for your 30 March 16 post: I have never understood why various therapists believe that there is a single route to healing DID and at the same time acknowledge that each individual has had a unique trauma journey to survive.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Apr 05, 2016 @ 07:02:55

      Hi and welcome to my blog! It nice to meet a fellow husband on the journey with his wife. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and leaving a comment! I’m glad to hear things are getting better each day for you and hope that continues.

      If you get the chance, I hope you will read Ms. Hunter’s dissertation.

      Sam

      Reply

  2. undercoverdid
    Apr 07, 2016 @ 14:19:56

    Interesting! The part that caught me in what you said was DID is trauma based and not biological therefore it doesn’t get a lot of the negativity. Maybe I don’t understand the biological model, but DID is so controversial because there isn’t a blood test or an x ray or whatever that can diagnose it. If people would get their acts together, they would see this IS preventable because it IS trauma based. Wouldn’t that be great? But then people don’t want to realize society has many problems. They don’t want to be the one to stand up for the child being abused. So long as it happens and they don’t have to see it or God forbid acknowledge it, they can go on their “merry” little journey. I’m slowly starting to “reveal” a bit more to the world about who I am. It’s scary because I know the stereotypes. But if some of us don’t start speaking up, it’s not going to ever change.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Apr 07, 2016 @ 17:13:59

      Hi Undercover!

      Good to see you again. The biological model of the brain is the prevailing model that the modern health care system uses, but more and more therapists and patients are revolting as the model has been an absolute failure. I did a brief review of it in a recent blog entry and linked to a magazine that spent an entire issue critiquing the model if you are interested.

      Good luck as you slowly ‘come out.’ I wish I could get my wife to do the same, but so far she has no interest.

      Sam

      Reply

      • undercoverdid
        Apr 07, 2016 @ 19:00:26

        Yea, it’s not easy. I’m being somewhat careful as my kids are still a bit young. But they get pieces and parts – with the divorce and all it’s good for them to understand and know I understand some of what they go through. On the other hand, I try to protect them too.

  3. Jessica
    Sep 15, 2016 @ 16:25:47

    Sam,
    I read a lot of your blogs and I’m wondering if I could talk to you sometime regarding my husband and his DID? Possibly Via Email? We have been married now for 11 years and lately have been going through some trying times. His alter(s) have behaviors with other women I’m not sure how much more I can take. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you in advance, Jessica

    Reply

  4. fiver
    Dec 16, 2016 @ 03:35:20

    hello Mr. Sam;
    collectively, we are fiver.
    i/we come to your blog from time to time and read what we can before it becomes triggering. of course, we all have learned over many decades of being that our triggers are our responsibility.

    someone inside says that we have talked with you before many years ago, but i don’t have any memory of it. mostly i just wanted to say that we like how caring you are in the way you treat this subject. we also like that you don’t seem to look on it or people who have it as having some sort of disease to be shunned and or pitied.

    yours is the only place i know of that mostly allows us to feel good about this thing, and with that, helps us to a sense of equality.

    thank you for your writings Mr. Sam. we will keep watching and reading as long as they are here……

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Dec 16, 2016 @ 06:54:13

      Hi Fiver,

      I’m sorry that I don’t remember who in your system I talked to before: maybe they used a different name??

      I’m glad that you feel I treat you respectfully. I never see my wife as ‘crazy’. In fact I joke that in my little family of her, our son, and me, I’m ‘the family idiot’ because they are both so much smarter than I am. But they don’t get rid of me!

      I wish you well on your healing journey!
      Sam

      Reply

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