2020 Workshop Series

DID – Not Just a Mental Health Condition!

Presented by Mandy Coghill (Therapist) and Em (living with DID)

Mandy Coghill (Therapist) & Em (living with DID)


(Em) ‘I am not a ‘survivor’ of sexual abuse; I still feel very much a victim! Although I am far away from the perpetrators and not in that horrific situation any longer, Society, Health Professionals (most of them), Council Officials, Psychiatrists, Social Services and others have had such a negative impact on me, that on a daily basis I wish myself dead. Yes, the abuse itself still makes me feel this way, but the added pressure when things go wrong, and they do, constantly, makes me feel not part of this world. Apart from having DID there are other factors that affect my mental health and my stability. I would like my story to help some of the professionals working in this field to treat and understand us better, to know the challenges we face, to ‘bear’ with us when we can appear so disjointed and often child-like and hopefully give us hope.

(Mandy) I have been working as a counsellor for 26 years and in the trauma field specifically since 2006. Difficulties around partnership working with other agencies have been somewhat problematic throughout this period. My work with Em, epitomises many of these difficulties and impacts therapy negatively in different ways. So, a great deal of time is spent ‘firefighting’ leaving very little time for therapeutic work.

Level: Any

Intended Audience: Those already working within the context of trauma and dissociation, those considering working within this field and those who wish to explore the challenges of working with a person living with DID

Max audience size: Any

Learning outcomes

1) To highlight the personal challenges that are being faced when agencies become involved with a person living with DID e.g. NHS and Housing (Council)
2) To explain how these challenges impact negatively on all-round functioning.
3) To highlight the challenges faced by a therapist supporting someone with DID
4) To gain an insight into what it is like living with DID – expert by experience
5) To generate discussions and ideas about respectfully moving forward and supporting clients with DID and the agencies around them.


~ Working as a counsellor since 1993 – initially in a GP surgery on a part time voluntary basis
~ Full time paid work in an Alcohol Service from 1996 – 2005
~ Dropping hours there to pick up work at Women’s Aid from 2006
~ Came across my first DID client (knowingly) with Women’s Aid
~ Began seeking training (ESTD and elsewhere) from that time
~ Currently working within private practice as a Sensorimotor Psychotherapist largely as a trauma therapist, and with a number of DID clients.

~born into satanic, ritualistic paedophile ring
~ From birth to 18 years
~ Suffered sexual and physical abuse, torture and rape
~ Diagnosed with DID initially by therapist in 2012
~ Formally diagnosed by Psychiatrist in 2013
~ Living with 40 + personalities