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Self Mirroring Therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder: A pilot Study

The theoretical construct of self-mirroring therapy has its roots in recent studies of neuroimaging that demonstrate how the mirror neuron system is activated to a greater extent when one looks at his own face compared to that of others [Uddin et al., 2005; Iacoboni, 2008]. Self- Mirroring Therapy is based on a modified clinical protocol version of Video-Based Cognitive Therapy [Vinai & Speciale, 2013] within the phases oriented treatment for complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex DSM-5 dissociative disorders (Chu, 2011; Cloitre et al., 2012; International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, 2011).

Aim: our aim is to test Self-Mirroring Therapy in the treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorders (DID)

Subjects: 5 patients with Dissociative Identity Disorder are included in our pilot study. Patients with previous head injury and other types of memory disorders different from the dissociative subtype are excluded from the study.

The following questionnaires have been administered before Self-Mirroring Therapy sessions:

  • DIDS to make a diagnosis of DDI
  • TEC to investigate the different types of trauma
  • SCL 90 to evaluate the symptomatology

The following questionnaires are administered in the pre and post phase of Self-Mirroring Therapy in order to evaluate symptoms reduction after the intervention

  • DES
  • SDQ-20

Expected results: We suppose an improvement in the integrative functions when the patient is able to observe in the video one dissociated part.

Limits: One limit concerns the timing of the intervention - We are trying to better define in which moment of the phases oriented treatment testing this terapeutic technique.
We have planned to introduce a control sample constituted of patients with the same diagnosis. Subjects are not compared about two different treatments (eg, Self-Mirroring vs other treatments).

Frau, C., Caruso C., Pasquali, E.


Uddin LQ, Kaplan JT, Molnar-Szakacs I, Zaidel E, Iacoboni M (2005) Self-Face Recognition Activates a Frontoparietal Mirror Network in the Right Hemisphere: An Event-Related fMRI Study. NeuroImage 25:926-35.

Iacoboni M (2008) Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Vinai P, Speciale M (2013) Il colloquio clinico nella Video Based Cognitive Therapy. In Sassaroli S, Ruggiero GM (Eds.), Il colloquio in psicoterapia cognitiva (pp. 273–286). Milan, Italy: Raffaello Cortina.

Chu JA (2011) Rebuilding shattered lives: Treating complex PTSD and dissociative disorders (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Cloitre M, Courtois CA, Ford JD, Green BL, Alexander P, Briere, J, et al. (2012). The ISTSS expert consensus treatment guidelines for complex PTSD in adults (Retrieved from

International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (2011) Guidelines for treating dissociative identity disorder in adults, third revision: Summary version. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation 12:188–212.