Our expert says:
It's actually a highly controversial topic, and should be thus. At one level, Dissociation is an entirely normal facility of mind - when you look down a microscope with one eye, for instance, or peep through a chink in the curtains, and ignore the distraction of what the other eye sees, that's dissociation - temporary and useful.
It refers to a partial or more complete, temporary or longer-lasting interruption to the normal integration of one's psychological functioning. Drugs, for instance, can also cause a degree of dissociation, being spaced out and not altogether connecting as a unitary whole.
Unfortunately, there are some therapists who are excessively invested emotionally in finding and treating Dissociative Disorders, such as Dissociative Identity Disorder which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder. This is an extremely rare condition, but one easily created in surprisingly many people, when a suggestibel patient with other symptoms, consults a therapist who inacdurately believes the condition to be common, and can create it, deliberately or accidentally, by suggestion and selective inattention. Their preferred methods of treating this disorder, as I have discssed in a major world textbook on the disorder, often makes it worse, whereas calm treatment of the original complaints by a therapist sceptical about the condition usually leads to fairly rapid resolution of the dissociative symptoms, too.
There is no special secret to "being there" for someone with any particular disorder, other than to be sympathetic, ready to listen, and to help them with any day-to-day problems that may arise.
If a diagnosis of D.I.D. has been made by an enthusiast or believer in the commonness of the condition, I would recommend a further assessment and second opinion from someone appropriately sceptical about it.
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