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90 Minute Workshop Series

DID Peer Support - Can it work?

Abstract

Isolation can feel an insurmountable mountain for people living with DID. Meeting others who share and really understand their reality can for some people become an important part of their lives. The presenters will facilitate a discussion about the advantages, disadvantages, barriers and challenges of DID Peer support. They will share their own experiences of forming friendships, starting and establishing a DID peer support group and helping to establish a NHS Focus Group.

Meeting someone who has DID can feel amazing, here is someone who really understands. Unfortunately, many relationships break down early on because not enough internal and external communication has taken place. The importance of enough parts understanding the purpose of the group, what is appropriate to share and what is not will help to prevent the all too familiar feelings of rejection, shame and humiliation being triggered.

Many aspects of the early days of a new group or making a new friend will mirror the early days of establishing a good therapeutic alliance.

Presenters:

Michele Jowett

Michele Jowett was eager to establish a group in Cornwall due to the lack of support available to people with DID in the county. Despite extensive promotion of the group, interest was disappointing although she received sufficient to start a small group. An initial meeting proved challenging given members’ disagreement over boundaries that proved unresolvable and resulted in the group disbanding.

Unable to summon enough interest to form another group, Michele focused her energies on meeting with individuals who were looking to meet others with DID but these relationships also floundered due to an inability once again to adhere to the boundaries.

Although these initial experiences proved disappointing, they were also a learning curve and have not dented Michele’s resolve to form a group and hopefully meet others who have similar experiences.

Michele is training to be a psychotherapist and has a special interest in working in the dissociative field. She presented at a dissociation and dissociative disorders conference in January 2017 as a person with lived experience of DID. Her qualifications to date include OU Introduction to Counselling; CPCAB level 3 certificate in counselling studies; FdA counselling studies degree with distinction and diplomas in Professional Therapeutic Counselling and Eating Disorders. Michele is currently studying for her Advanced diploma in counselling level 4. She is a bereavement volunteer for Cruse and finds working intimately with people’s grief incredibly rewarding and an enormous privilege.

Melanie Goodwin

Melanie Goodwin is a trustee and trainer for FPP and has been an active member of two groups. She helped to establish a third that is now thriving in its fourth year. She has got a lot from these experiences and hopes others will do likewise.