• 💖 [Donate To Keep MyPTSD Online] 💖 Every contribution, no matter how small, fuels our mission and helps us continue to provide peer-to-peer services. Your generosity keeps us independent and available freely to the world. MyPTSD closes if we can't reach our annual goal.

Massive backfire in therapy - don't know what to do

This thread is very interesting and I have a few thoughts to share based on my own personal experiences.

In all honesty the fact I'm not allowed to email between sessions is very hard for me. I don't expect a response but it would help immensely to know i can send it and we can address it in session. Yes I could journal but this isn't easy as I have to do it electronically. And by the end of the week I look back at what's written and it's too overwhelming to bring to session to discuss - so I don't. Then the gap widens between us. If he has it to bring to session, I know we have to address this gap.

I also can't hack the sessions only being 50 mins. Today was the first time parts came out in session. And the session ran over by 20 mins because 50 MINS WASN'T ENOUGH!
My T allows emails. I’ve struggled with a lot of shame over the emails, but I realize that has always been more of a “me problem” since I feel like I should be able to take care of things myself (when really reaching out for help has been necessary). I try to limit the emails as much as possible to be considerate of T and her time…but, I do utilize them if I need help.

As someone also diagnosed with OSDD, the emailing has been a critically important aspect of my healing journey. Not only to help stabilize my-selves during times of crisis, but to share things with T I was unable to verbalize as well as giving parts the ability to communicate with T (since I have little control over my switching and parts are not always available in session to work through what’s going on for them). T may or may not respond to the emails, it’s always up to her and her discretion.

We also utilize our journal daily and share writings, art, personal objects, etc. with T so all parts can be heard/seen/acknowledged and have an opportunity to unburden and grow…as well as to strengthen internal communication and collaboration.

As far as scheduling, we meet for 1-hour every other week, 2-hours on the alternating weeks, and have group session twice per month. If I am struggling, I can request additional sessions (which T grants if she has them available) and I have a back up T (another therapist in her same office) in case I need support if T is not available (if she’s sick, out of town, or I am in crisis). The 2-hour sessions were absolutely needed for successful EMDR sessions.

T has been flexible with me and all these arrangements have kind of come into place organically. We have discussed boundaries and there are things I don’t do (like calling her on the phone) or only do very minimally (like texting).

T has said a few times (usually when I’m apologizing for emailing her because a lot of shame still lives there for me), that it’s actually been necessary for us to have that mode of communication between sessions because of how much is going on for all the parts.

I suppose if emailing wasn’t an option I could arrange to have 2-3 sessions per week instead, but financially that’s not really an option for me.

If emailing is really a no-go boundary for T, then collaborating with him regarding other ways to curate support/communication outside of that context is extremely important, in my opinion.

I think there is a difference in T's understanding and specialising in parts, fragmented selves, disassociation (which your T does) and T's who don't.
I agree with this. It took about 8 months before T started to really consider I may actually have a dissociative disorder and just over a year before she gave me the OSDD diagnosis. My trauma was well hidden from me (and T) until things started to just ooze and/or explode out. It took a long time before my parts were able to front in session.

I believe I’ve been able to make significant progress pretty quickly because my parts have been acknowledged and connected with early on in treatment (even just starting with an IFS modality before my DD diagnosis).

I will say that validation is something you should stop seeking. There’s never going to be enough validation in the world to make you finally feel ok to the point where you stop seeking validation. So what if someone doesn’t agree with you? That’s just one person. You need to find this all within yourself, and if you can’t do that right away, then you just learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings. No, it’s not easy. Most of the time it downright sucks. But, I do know that seeking that reassurance is absolutely not the way you are going to heal.
I disagree with this to a certain extent…yes, we cannot always get validation and sometimes it’s more problematic for us to look for it where it’s not available or if it’s regarding something that should NOT actually be validated…but sometimes it is 100% absolutely necessary for our healing.

I started to believe I may have a DD before T was ready to give me the diagnosis, and sometimes I felt some unspoken resistance from her when I described my experiences (to be fair, some of my parts present as extremely high functioning and neither T nor I were aware that I was a survivor of trafficking/the extents of my traumas yet because I was not privy to those memories held by the other parts)…so T was being cautious because it’s not a label to throw out lightly…But sensing her resistance during this time period pushed me into huge feelings that I was actually insane and made me deny my parts/my experiences/what was really going on inside and caused more trouble for me. I was already struggling with massive feelings of denial and that contributed to it (hell, I still struggle with denial)…but it truly compounded my struggles.

Denial underlies the nature of dissociative disorders, and until T openly and verbally validated my experiences and the presence of my parts, I struggled immensely to feel comfortable being 100% honest in expressing my experiences…the shame was overwhelming. And I denied my parts what they needed to start to heal. All parts need to be seen, heard, and validated.

It has been an absolutely critical component to my healing.


I can’t speak to OSDD, but I can tell you that with DID, when you first start communicating with parts, it’s almost universally immensely destabilising. People, coexisting in the same body, who genuinely loathe each other, and disapprove of the way the others deal with stress and potential threats.
Yes, 100%. A few years in and it’s still immensely destabilizing. I’ve been connecting with 2 new parts across the last month or so (after establishing growing relationships with a handful of parts at this point) and although I know what to expect to some degree now, I’ve still be thrown into crisis. I still struggle with SI, SH, and out of control behaviors of the parts. It’s serious business and no joke.

Some of my parts went to war with each other when we opened that door.
This happened to me as well, with OSDD. It is still a struggle we are learning to manage.

That’s why, certainly with DID, I wouldn’t do parts work with anyone who doesn’t specialise in it. Because they will know that’s coming. And they will be ready for when things inevitably blow up, with DID-specific strategies, to keep you safe.
Yes. The parts inevitably will do what parts do and it can be extremely scary. I don’t lose time in the present (thus the OSDD and not DID diagnosis), but when the parts front, I am 100% out of control of myself and my actions - I’m at the mercy of my parts…and it’s a very vulnerable (and sometimes dangerous) place to be.

The right support needs to be in place for so many reasons.

Can I ask you (and anyone else with DID/OSDD), when you started hearing from others inside, how did that manifest? Voices? Thoughts? Both? Neither? What is a response for you? I know this likely is a little different between OSDD and DID
This is a really complex question for me. Once I began actively practicing noticing myself and my inner experiences I (very slowly) started seeing what was really happening. I started noticing when I would switch and what those parts felt like in the front. Some parts talk to me verbally and we converse in my head, some parts it is a sense of “knowing”what they are saying (without words)….parts begin to feel other parts sensations/emotions/memories “oozing” onto them. Some parts only live inside (do not front) and the ones I hear inside have different voices. Usually, at the beginning of learning about a part, it’s just a sense of huge “overwhelm” and these scary feelings that I don’t know what’s happening. Then a lot of “automatic behaviors” are parts in action.

The main thing for me was to notice with curiosity. And sit with the not knowing yet. And then a little at a time my brain opened things up. It’s been chaos, messy, scary… but an ultimately rewarding experience when I started to know who the parts were, why they are here, and when parts started to learn to work together as a team instead of being at war.

I think communication is key. It's really tough to be able to discern the differences in thoughts, and sometimes I was (am) never able to do it. Sometimes it's not important, and things work out on their own. Other times, communication with the ones who actually talk can reveal further info on those who are silent. And honestly, I think it's critical to find someone who can help you develop those skills
Communication is foundational. And I’ve needed help (from more than just T, but her especially) to sort all this out. I (for the most part on most days) accept my diagnosis…the denial still exists sometimes. But…for the few people that know my diagnosis (my husband, siblings, a couple really close friends), they have said everything about me finally makes sense to them. They have words to explain what they have been seeing for years but didn’t understand. It’s harder for me to be in denial when others around me help me accept reality/my parts/my whole self.


Ultimately @beaneeboo - things can be sorted out with T, you just have to figure out if you have enough support (for all parts) within the therapeutic framework he can provide. The only way to figure that out is through communication (and vulnerability…so scary)! So maybe that means you can make it work with him as is. Or maybe it’s T plus additional supports (adding xyz), or maybe that means seeing someone who specializes in dissociative disorders. Feeling misunderstood and not validated by T feels so yucky, but it absolutely can be worked out and that’s part of the process of therapy. And there is no one size fits all. You’ve got to figure out what works for you (all of yous).

Wishing you the best as you sort through it all!
 
I don't have parts, but a part of me is like a child, and immoveable. I finally realized 'bravery' and that feature of myself don't co-exist, yet I have been brave (very) in some instances, more than most, and was a pretty resilient, independent child. A dichotomy but makes more sense through that lens, though others wouldn't likely understand, and probably frustrating or annoying for them. But I do think, maybe it's why I also see things differently, am gentle (supposedly), and want peace and safety. Trust a lot when I do, or not so much. Rely on words and hold promises to heart. See a lot of beauty and 'magic' (don't mean the literal word), maybe better I see the little things. Feel a lot. Feel a lot like a child, plus a woman at the same time, in the same body. Parallel.

Thank you also from me @Renly .
 
Last edited:
This thread is very interesting and I have a few thoughts to share based on my own personal experiences.


My T allows emails. I’ve struggled with a lot of shame over the emails, but I realize that has always been more of a “me problem” since I feel like I should be able to take care of things myself (when really reaching out for help has been necessary). I try to limit the emails as much as possible to be considerate of T and her time…but, I do utilize them if I need help.

As someone also diagnosed with OSDD, the emailing has been a critically important aspect of my healing journey. Not only to help stabilize my-selves during times of crisis, but to share things with T I was unable to verbalize as well as giving parts the ability to communicate with T (since I have little control over my switching and parts are not always available in session to work through what’s going on for them). T may or may not respond to the emails, it’s always up to her and her discretion.

We also utilize our journal daily and share writings, art, personal objects, etc. with T so all parts can be heard/seen/acknowledged and have an opportunity to unburden and grow…as well as to strengthen internal communication and collaboration.

As far as scheduling, we meet for 1-hour every other week, 2-hours on the alternating weeks, and have group session twice per month. If I am struggling, I can request additional sessions (which T grants if she has them available) and I have a back up T (another therapist in her same office) in case I need support if T is not available (if she’s sick, out of town, or I am in crisis). The 2-hour sessions were absolutely needed for successful EMDR sessions.

T has been flexible with me and all these arrangements have kind of come into place organically. We have discussed boundaries and there are things I don’t do (like calling her on the phone) or only do very minimally (like texting).

T has said a few times (usually when I’m apologizing for emailing her because a lot of shame still lives there for me), that it’s actually been necessary for us to have that mode of communication between sessions because of how much is going on for all the parts.

I suppose if emailing wasn’t an option I could arrange to have 2-3 sessions per week instead, but financially that’s not really an option for me.

If emailing is really a no-go boundary for T, then collaborating with him regarding other ways to curate support/communication outside of that context is extremely important, in my opinion.


I agree with this. It took about 8 months before T started to really consider I may actually have a dissociative disorder and just over a year before she gave me the OSDD diagnosis. My trauma was well hidden from me (and T) until things started to just ooze and/or explode out. It took a long time before my parts were able to front in session.

I believe I’ve been able to make significant progress pretty quickly because my parts have been acknowledged and connected with early on in treatment (even just starting with an IFS modality before my DD diagnosis).


I disagree with this to a certain extent…yes, we cannot always get validation and sometimes it’s more problematic for us to look for it where it’s not available or if it’s regarding something that should NOT actually be validated…but sometimes it is 100% absolutely necessary for our healing.

I started to believe I may have a DD before T was ready to give me the diagnosis, and sometimes I felt some unspoken resistance from her when I described my experiences (to be fair, some of my parts present as extremely high functioning and neither T nor I were aware that I was a survivor of trafficking/the extents of my traumas yet because I was not privy to those memories held by the other parts)…so T was being cautious because it’s not a label to throw out lightly…But sensing her resistance during this time period pushed me into huge feelings that I was actually insane and made me deny my parts/my experiences/what was really going on inside and caused more trouble for me. I was already struggling with massive feelings of denial and that contributed to it (hell, I still struggle with denial)…but it truly compounded my struggles.

Denial underlies the nature of dissociative disorders, and until T openly and verbally validated my experiences and the presence of my parts, I struggled immensely to feel comfortable being 100% honest in expressing my experiences…the shame was overwhelming. And I denied my parts what they needed to start to heal. All parts need to be seen, heard, and validated.

It has been an absolutely critical component to my healing.



Yes, 100%. A few years in and it’s still immensely destabilizing. I’ve been connecting with 2 new parts across the last month or so (after establishing growing relationships with a handful of parts at this point) and although I know what to expect to some degree now, I’ve still be thrown into crisis. I still struggle with SI, SH, and out of control behaviors of the parts. It’s serious business and no joke.


This happened to me as well, with OSDD. It is still a struggle we are learning to manage.


Yes. The parts inevitably will do what parts do and it can be extremely scary. I don’t lose time in the present (thus the OSDD and not DID diagnosis), but when the parts front, I am 100% out of control of myself and my actions - I’m at the mercy of my parts…and it’s a very vulnerable (and sometimes dangerous) place to be.

The right support needs to be in place for so many reasons.


This is a really complex question for me. Once I began actively practicing noticing myself and my inner experiences I (very slowly) started seeing what was really happening. I started noticing when I would switch and what those parts felt like in the front. Some parts talk to me verbally and we converse in my head, some parts it is a sense of “knowing”what they are saying (without words)….parts begin to feel other parts sensations/emotions/memories “oozing” onto them. Some parts only live inside (do not front) and the ones I hear inside have different voices. Usually, at the beginning of learning about a part, it’s just a sense of huge “overwhelm” and these scary feelings that I don’t know what’s happening. Then a lot of “automatic behaviors” are parts in action.

The main thing for me was to notice with curiosity. And sit with the not knowing yet. And then a little at a time my brain opened things up. It’s been chaos, messy, scary… but an ultimately rewarding experience when I started to know who the parts were, why they are here, and when parts started to learn to work together as a team instead of being at war.


Communication is foundational. And I’ve needed help (from more than just T, but her especially) to sort all this out. I (for the most part on most days) accept my diagnosis…the denial still exists sometimes. But…for the few people that know my diagnosis (my husband, siblings, a couple really close friends), they have said everything about me finally makes sense to them. They have words to explain what they have been seeing for years but didn’t understand. It’s harder for me to be in denial when others around me help me accept reality/my parts/my whole self.


Ultimately @beaneeboo - things can be sorted out with T, you just have to figure out if you have enough support (for all parts) within the therapeutic framework he can provide. The only way to figure that out is through communication (and vulnerability…so scary)! So maybe that means you can make it work with him as is. Or maybe it’s T plus additional supports (adding xyz), or maybe that means seeing someone who specializes in dissociative disorders. Feeling misunderstood and not validated by T feels so yucky, but it absolutely can be worked out and that’s part of the process of therapy. And there is no one size fits all. You’ve got to figure out what works for you (all of yous).

Wishing you the best as you sort through it all!
Wow @Renly ... I'm speechless right now because you've taken the time to write and share so much with me about your experience ... I'm quite tearful about it right now because I feel you're coming from a place of deep understanding... and having the same diagnosis and understanding the same issues which come with that is priceless for me...

I want to answer when I've had more time to digest what you've said about some things so will do that another day...

But for now I wanted to say thank you...
 
could bring my lap top to session. But I've had weeks where I've typed everything down in between sessions then either forgotten it, or someone in the system has decided it's too difficult to discusss/ too much / too overwhelming... so it doesn't get brought... then I avoid it... emailing it at the time makes sure that the part wanting T to know something gets heard rather than over ridden later on..it has to be addressed if he brings it to session.

My therapist lets me email. However, the same thing can still happen. If parts are blocking, there are all kinds of ways to avoid talking about, even with the email. That's assuming the T prompts me with the email. I've had a few who let me email and most of the time, they wait for me to bring it up even with the email. What gave me the most progress when I first started working on this was talking about the fact I was avoiding talking about things. T would ask all sorts of questions like what would happen if I talked about it", "who is blocking", "what would make it easier for that part", "what would talking about it seem like", etc.. We got so much growth out of it.

Can I ask you (and anyone else with DID/OSDD), when you started hearing from others inside, how did that manifest? Voices? Thoughts? Both? Neither? What is a response for you? I know this likely is a little different between OSDD and DID

When we started trying to talk inside? It was an absolute mess. Suicidal ideation, SH, unregulated, worse dissociation, etc. I didn't have a trauma therapist then. I switched to a trauma therapist who helped work on safety and self-regulation. It was still a mess but not as bad.
 
An update after therapy today

(Thank you for your post @Muttly and again @Renly- you've given me lots to think about which requires more time for me to reflect....I'll respond later)...

I was pretty nervous going in and did alot of mental prep before (writing my thoughts down), including telling all parts that I had everyone's back if it didn't go well...

He asked me what I wanted to address and if I'd like to start to say what I thought about last session (rather than him) as its my perspective that counts...

I started telling him how difficult it was for me to discuss my perspective because I had feeling hanging over me that I might be wrong... he told me there's never an objective truth with these things and mine is valid...

So I told him my take on what happened, about his approach being not to listen to what I brought to therapy and why I did, but instead to challenge the content of it and therefore not hear my perspective on how the DD material i found related to me...I told him how that made me feel (that I'm wrong), what it made me think (my perspective didn't count as much as his)...

we spoke about the deeper triggers (me feeling he was guilt tripping me by intimating about me breaking the therapeutic trust in bringing the videos up).... that leading to a sense of being gas lit by him, then feeling threat then needing to shut down, trying to think how I could get out the room etc...

He told me he agreed with everything I'd said about the events last session, except that he had never meant that I had broken trust but he was more worried that HE hadn't built good enough trust himself within the relationship...(i know other people on this thread said this could be the case. Thank you). He actually apologised to me that his management of the situation had sparked that reaction in me and he would never ever want for that to happen with any client... he mentioned he should have taken more care with it... he acknowledged he brought his ego into the room - said he shouldn't have - and he was mortified about how the session had gone afterwards...

I couldn't believe he apologised and wasn't expecting him to. I didn't expect him to agree with my perspective at all let alone take some accountability for how he managed things... I could see he genuinely felt those things and was remorseful... I don't think I could have imagined in my wildest dreams that he would have said or thought these things. I was expecting an argument. This is taking time to process. It's a really big deal for me he said those this on so many levels.

We talked about my younger part fronting. He told me this was the first time 2 had spoken to him when she fronted. That 2 has been present before in sessions, but never spoken directly. He asked if I remembered what she said. I could remember two things but had forgotten other things. He said that she must have wanted to be seen but that he acknowledged her fronting in that way/ context wasn't ideal because he recognised she was triggered to front through fear - which I think was the bit he was mortified by. But he said he's human and it was a mistake. And I also acknowledged that I understood this once I'd had space from the last session.

He said despite all that, we had got some really rich information from that session. About what 2 feels (threat/ shame), what she's thinking (can't remember this bit) and what she needs (to let go of the secrecy and hiding).. we talked about how I couldn't remember some key things 2 said and how this was a part of the dissociative mechanism doing it's job properly...

I told him my reasons bringing the DD material into therapy - not to doubt his methods but add more info into understanding OSDD and how to manage it...I told him I did trust him and that was not my motive for bringing it in. He told me I shouldn't have to worry about him in all this - it's my feelings which count. I know he meant that professionally. But I could also see it meant alot to him personally to hear that I (adult me) do trust him.

Emails - well knock me down with a feather. I explained again why being able to email may help me in the therapeutic process because of the amnesia and different parts saying different things through the week and all that info not being brought to session. About how I can type this up but it doesn't mean I necessarily can bring it to session to open up. He said he was beginning to understand this and felt that, as long as I don't expect an email response, I can email what I need to between sessions to help with this gap. I'm. Literally. Speechless. @Movingforward10 you popped into my mind when all this convo was going on!

The only thing we didn't address (the session was packed and exhausting!) was about his actual opinion on DDs. Where his stand point is on it. @Charbella I wanted so much to highlight what you have in this thread. But it was one thing too many that I need to leave it for future sessions. But he was talking about my alters this session. His language was different - much more attuned to DD language and concepts. What I take from it all is that he believes in the processes I'm experiencing but doesn't want to use the labels out there to describe my experience- because he feels they are negative. It's defo a convo for the future because in trying to be sensitive to my position and not define me through using the DD language, it feels a bit invalidating to me! So ironic. But I think this is one we can properly discuss another time and I feel more confident we can.

Phew...
Sorry this is a long post. Mainly for me to remember what happened in session - so much did.

I think we're back on track. Feeling lucky to have a T who can reflect and apologise and be flexible in their approach.

Now got to get a plan for moving forward with the more practical elements of how to manage the amnesia, parts and communicating... plus what info i can bring in to session about it all...

Thanks for listening if you got this far...
 
So proud of you for expressing yourself the way you did. You took a leap of faith and explained really difficult things.
And am so pleased he responded the way he did. And that he apologised.
it is mind blowing when T’s do that. Act in the total opposite of what you are prepared yourself for, braced yourself for. Kind of takes the wind out of your sails, in a really really good way.

And OMg about the emailing! I know how challenging not having that outlet has been for you. And here he is adapting to what will work for you therapeutically.

really glad he spoke about 2 coming out through fear and how he was mortified about his part in that.


sounds an immensely useful session. So much to digest.

go you!
 
Back
Top