Tag Archives: Therapy

Changing Myself

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

This past week, the above quote was the prompt phrase for Tuesday at Ten. I am very late to join in, but I find the prompt particularly interesting. It signifies how we cannot have control over every situation in our lives, but we can have control over how we handle said situation.

I am just a tiny bit hypocritical (oh well, not a tiny bit) writing about changing one’s thoughts and actions around an uncontrolable situation today, because I just spent hours on or over the edge of crisis. There wasn’t really a situation I needed to change that led to it, other than my unquiet mind itself. So for today, I am going to write about changing that aspect of myself.

I remember in 2007, when I had only been on the acute psychiatric unit for a few weeks, moaning to my fellow patients that I’d gone to all sorts of rehabilitation and training places and still hadn’t learned how to handle my unquiet mind. Now I can add to these places three different psychiatric units. The thing is, however, wherever I go, I take me with me.

It is terrilby hard being me. However, I can change. I change all the time. Whether I grow is up to me. That is a terribly ironic phrase to write down for a pessimist with a terribly external locus of c ontrol. I’m not even sure I believe it myself. Maybe that is where I need to start: believing that I can’t change all situations of my life, but I can change myself.

I can change the way I think or act. I have come a long way already, because I have far fewer meltdowns than I had in 2007. I usually think my medication deserves the credit, but it isn’t like anyone forces these pills down my throat.

Also, while medications can alter your brain chemistry, so can thought processes. It is a myth that therapy works on the mind only, as if the mind is somehow separate from the body. The mind and body mutually influence each other.

I have never been all that great a psychotherapy client. As I said, I have yet to fully believe that I can change my brain chemistry by changing my thoughts. However, I practise this changing my thoughts sometimes already, like when I try to reassure myself. Now I just need to practise on.

My Experience With Therapy and Counseling #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 23 in the #Write31Days challenge on mental health. Today, I’ll focus on another question in the 30-day mental illness awareness challenge. For day 23, the topic is your opinion on therapy. I will share my experiences of therapy and my opinion on various approaches. I have decided to include both traditional psychotherapy approaches and non-verbal approaches.

I had my first experience of therapy as a child, when I had four sessions of play therapy. I didn’t like the therapist, didn’t have insight into my problems, and four sessions obviously wasn’t enough to garner any results. In hindsight, my play behavior did show my problems with rigid thinking, emotion regulation and behavioral control. For example, I’d throw out the dollhouse dolls with purple hair because “people don’t have purple hair”. I also preferred to play with toys that allowed me to show anger, such as toy guns. One vivid memory I have is of me trying to overflow the water tray. The therapist did show me why it wouldn’t work, but I tried anyway.

My first experience with verbal therapy was when I was nineteen and attending the rehabilitation center for the blind. Once again, I didn’t like the therapist, who appeared a bit inpatient towards my difficulties adjusting to blindness and misunderstanding of my social ineptitude. She tried to offer practical advice, while I felt I needed to process the rollercoaster ride that my life had become. Of course, time constraints – I had only about twelve sessions -, prevented us from going deeper.

During my first sixteen months in the psychiatric hospital, I didn’t have a psychologist. I did do movement therapy, which helped me greatly to release my emotional tension. It was here that I learned to rate my distress level – I came up with a system myself. Thhat being said, when later people asked me to rate my distress level, I was often stuck. This moveement therapist I had at the acute ward was one of the more helpful therapists I’ve had.

At the resocialization ward, I tried cognitive-behavioral therapy for a bit. It hardly worked, because I and my therapist agreed I had good reason to be anxious. Then, when I was diagnosed with DID and PTSD, the therapist pushed me to try EMDR, but I resisted. I didn’t have that severe PTSD symptoms, after all, and did have quite a bit of trouble with self-regulation and dissociation.

When I moved to my current institution, I got diagnosed with BPD. My therapist’s expertise was schema-focused therapy, an approach I’d wanted to use for a while. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. The therapist told one of my parts, who hides her inner weakness behind a stubborn attitude, that she’s a “punitive parent” and needs to disappear. I strongly feel that each part of my personality has a function, so this dismissive attitude didn’t fit me well. Besides, though I learned some from the book the therapist recommended, most of the information was just a bit too abstract.

This therapist left in 2014 and I’ve had a new psychologist for a little over a year now. With her, I focus on supportive counseling and rehabilitation. I find this is most constructive. I do hope that, in the future, I can get some formal psychotherapy again. I have a dialectical behavior therapy self-help book, which is quite interesting. Then again, I find it hard to make a long-term commitment to sticking to one thing to focus on. That is probably the main thing keeping me from engaging properly in psychotherapy.

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 12 in the 31 Days of Mental Health. Yesterday, I was originally intending on writing a post on personality disorders. I didn’t and I didn’t even write a draft. However, since this 31-day series is raising awareness of the borad spectrum of mental illness, I thought I’d make use of the opportunity to discuss some disorders I’ve not been diagnosed with. Today, I’m writing about a disorder that my therapist at one point hinted at when discussing the possibility that I had imagined my dissociation: histrionic personality disorder. For your information: she never suggested I had this and, when my husband looked over the criteria to make his own judgment, he said I’m about the opposite of this.

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking. Like all personality disorders, it sets on in early adulthood and is relatively stable across time and situations. People with HPD meet at least five of the following eight criteria:


  1. Is uncomfortable in situations in which he/she is not the center of attention.

  2. Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior.

  3. Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions.

  4. Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self.

  5. Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail.

  6. Shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion.

  7. Is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances.

  8. Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.


People with HPD are often referred to as “drama queens”. Though this was my first online nickname and many people agreed I was a real drama queen, I only meet one criterion of HPD (suggestibility) consistently now.

Histrionic personality diosrder is more common in females than males. It occurs in about 1.8% of the general population. Like most personality disorders, the presentation of HPD tends to become less pronounced as the affected person ages.

People with HPD are quicker to seek help than those with other personality disorders. However, this may reflect a symptom of their condition, because they exaggerate their symptoms and difficulty functioning. They also may display all emotions with the same depth of expression, unaware of the subtleties of emotional experience. People with HPD are also emotionally needy. Therefore, once in therapy, it’s hard for them to terminate treatment.

Therapy for HPD should usually be supportive, relatively short-term and solution-focused. It is unlikely that a therapist will be able to “cure” a HPD sufferer, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in long-term therapy.

People with HPD may exhibit suicidal behavior or make suicidal gestures. They may also self-harm. Though this might be an expression of their need for attention, suicidality and self-harm should always be taken very seriously. Even if the person is just crying out for help, death or serious bodily harm may occur. Like with all people who are suicidal or engage in self-injury, a safety contract may help establish boundaries while keeping the patient safe.

My #InvisibleFight for Mental Health #IIWK15

Today is the start of INvisible Illness Awareness Week. I already shared a post on ths year’s theme, my invisible fight, last week. This was about my fight for a correct diagnosis and treatment of my physical symptoms.

If all goes as planned, I will be participating in a 31-day writing challenge in October on the topic of mental health. I have lived with mental health problems pretty much all my life, though I didn’t get into the care system till 2007. In today’s post, I’m sharing my fight for proper mental health care.

I have had a number of diangoses for my mental health problems over the years. At first, in 2007, I was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder caused by the stress of my living independently while being multiply-dsabled. I was hospitalized on a locked psychiatric unit and stayed there for 1 1/2 years. An adjustment disorder can only persist for six months after the stressor has gone (so after I’d been hospitalized), so I had to be diagnosed with something else eventually. My new diagnosis was impulse control disorder nOS. Several years later, I got diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These finally got changed to borderline personality disorder in 2013.

It’s been a long fight to get the care I deserve and the fight is ongoing. In 2008, when on the locked unit, I was treated with seclusion or threatened seclusion whenever I acted even slightly irritable. I wasn’t told that, being an informally-admitted patient, I had to give consent for this treatment. My problems were treated like willful misbehavior, even though my diagnosis of impulse control disorder should suggest the behaviors were at least to an extent beyond my control.

I had a horribly authoritarian social worker at the time. She was mostly in charge of my care, because I was at this unit awaiting appropriate long-term residential care. At one point, when I objected to applying at a certain supported housing place because I didn’t meet half the admission criteria, she threatened to get me a guardian. Not that my parents, who would’ve been the most likely choice for guardianship, would’ve stood in the way of my making my own decisions. I have said many negative things about my parents, but one positive quality of theirs is that they allow me to be in charge of my own life.

I had to fight to be admitted to a resocialization unit in 2009. I first had to fight my social worker, who wanted to transfer me to a low-level supported housing placement instead. That was just too big a leap. I also had to fight the treatment team at the resocialization unit, who were skeptical I’d be able to cope on an open unit.

Once at the rsocialization unit, I got better treatment than I’d gotten at the locked unit. However, I didn’t get much better. Eventually, medicaiton was suggested. This was a huge step, as the doctor at the locked unit had always ignored my questions and suggestions about possibly going on medication. My antipsychotic is truly a lifesaver. Its dose had to be increased several times and an antidepressant had to be added, but now I’m quite stable.

In 2012, when I’d been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder for some years but was noticing my psychologist didn’t have a clue how to treat it, I took it upon myself to find a suited therapist. I E-mailed around, was rejected many times, but eventually found someone. Unfortunately, by the time she had a spot for me, I’d transferred to my current institution and my diagnosis had just been changed to borderline personality disorder.

As the years passed, I got to know and love my husband and we eventually married in 2011. We originally weren’t planning on living together, but early this year, I changed my mind. We’ve been working towards discharge for me ever since. Thankfully, my psychologist and social worker are quite cooperative. The fight is not yet over. In fact, now that my discharge is coming closer being probably around three to six months away, I have to fight my inner demons. In other words, I have to fight the fear that I’ll break down again, like I did in 2007. Thankfully, my psychologist and social worker are understanding of this. I am hoping that, once I am settled in at my and my husband’s apartment, I can finally get treatment for my emotion regulation problems.

Everyday Gyaan

Also linking up to Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2015: Your Invisble Fight.

Sensory Processing Difficulties in Autism #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to another day in the A to Z Challenge, in which I write about autims. Today, I write about an important aspect of difficulty in autistic people: sensory processing. Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is sometimes also diagnosed in non-autistic children. Therefore, this piece may be useful for both people interested in autism and those dealing with SPD kids.

Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives and interprets messages from the senses and turns them into appropirate motor or behavioral reactions. There are many different ways in which sensory processing difficulties can manifest themselves in people with SPD or autistic people.

The most common type of sensory processing disorder is sensory modulation disorder, which means an affected person over-responds or under-responds to sensory stimuli or seeks sensory stimulation. In autistic people, the stereotypcal (self-stimulatory) movements that are a core symptom of autism, are usually interpreted as a sensory modulaton issue. In fact, unusual sensory responses are a core symptom of autism in DSM-5. Some people are mostly sensory seekers, sensory over- or under-responders, while others exhibit mixed features.

In addition to sensory modulation disorders, sensory-based motor disorders (eg. dyspraxia) and sensory discrimination disorders are other subtypes of SPD. The symptoms of these disorders are not autism core symptoms but they are common in autistic people too.

I myself have many different symptoms of sensory processing difficulties. For example, I avoid certain textures. I wouldn’t wear jeans until age twelve, still hate the feel of brushing my teeth and dislike getting my hands dirty sometimes. These are symptoms of sensory over-responsiveness. So are being a picky eater and sleep problems, both of which are common among autistic people.

Symptoms of sensory under-responsiveness include appearing unreactive and slow, having extreme difficulty waking up, lacking awareness of pain and difficulty with toilet-learning (because of not feeling the urge to go). I myself do not have most of these symptoms.

Sensory seekers might appear impulsive. They often fidget excessively, climb or jump when it’s not appropriate, bite or suck on clothes, pencils, etc. I did/do many of these things.

I also have many symptoms of sensory-based motor disorder (dyspraxia), such as being uncoordinated and clumsy. Lastly, people with sensory discrimination disorder often have difficulty with tasks such as dressing and eating, have poor handwriting and will drop objects constantly.

How to tell if your child with sensory processing difficulties has SPD or autism? Since many of the sensory processing difficulties listed above are common in autistic people too, this may be hard. Sometimes, getting an autism diagnosis might be beneficial for the sake of treatment, because many health care systems do not fund therapy for sensory processign disorder. There are, however, difficulties in autistic people that those with “pure” SPD do not have. For example, autistic people often have difficulties with theory of mind (the ability to understand and respond to others’ motives and feelings) and executive functioning (organizational skills). If, in addition to sensory processign problems, your child particularly has social communicative problems, it may be advisable to have them evaluated for autism.

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) and Floortime: Two Autism Treatments #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day eighteen in the A to Z Challenge on autism. Today, I will focus on two behavioral interventions for autism: relationship development intervention and Floortime.

Relationship development intervention (RDI) is a behavioral approach to helping autistic children reach the highest possible quality of life. The intervention was developed by Dr. Steven Guttstein. The basic idea behind the intervention is that dynamic intelligence, which is the ability to think flexibly, is required for a good quality of life. Dynamic intelligence includes the ability to appreciate different perspectives, cope with change, and integrate informaiton from multiple sources (eg. sight and sound).

The most important objectives of RDI are:


  • Emotional referencing: being able to learn from the emotions and subjective experiences of others.

  • Social coordination: the ability to observe and control behavior in order to participate in social interaction.

  • Declarative language: using verbal and non-verbal communication to express curiosity, invite interaction and share perceptions and feelings.

  • Flexible thinking: being able to adjust to changing circumstances and adapt one’s plans accordingly.

  • Relational information processign: the ability to put things into context and solve problems that don’t have a clear-cut solution.
  • Foresight and hindsight: being able to use past experiences to anticipate on future possibilities.


Autistic people usually have trouble in these areas, which leads to their autistic core symptoms. Typically deveoping children commonly learn these skills through interaction with their parents.

RDI uses the parent-child relationship to enable the child to master the skills mentioned above. An RDI consultant teaches the parents to modify their interaction and communication style in such a way that the autistic child will be supported to learn the missed skills.

I used to believe that RDI is the same as Floortime, but it turns out it isn’t. Floortime was developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and relies on the idea that, in order to teach a child functional skills, they have to engage with their parents, teachers or therapists. This is precisely where some autistic children have trouble, particularly those who are very withdrawn. In Floortime, the parent carefully intrudes the child’s play, following the child’s lead, and tries to engage the child.

So what is the difference between Floortime and RDI? An important distinction is that, in RDI, the parent takes the lead in engaging the child, whereas a parent who uses Floortime follows the child’s lead. Both approaches require consistency and follow-through, so as a parent, you most likely won’t be able to combine the two.

Week Starting September 22, 2014 #Thelist

I’m feeling a little tense and wanting to write, but at the same time lacking inspiration. I thought therefore that I’d participate in #Thelist (formerly #Mumslist) again and wrap up my week.

Therapy


  • Had my last meeting with my now former psychologist. Haven’t yet gotten an appointment with the new one. At this last meeting, we discussed the paperwork to be sent to Leo Kanner House, a national autism agency, for a consultation. My psychologist read me the referral letter and sent me my current treatment plan for review.

  • The treatment plan was okay, though I felt a little awkward about all the things I “can’t” or need help with. The one thing I disagreed with was the seclusion policy. It said that I could be asked to go into seclusion if I am a significant nuisance to others (eg. screaming, slamming doors, etc.). In reality, I usually ask for seclusion for my own safety when I’m having suicidal thoughts or self-harm issues. I asked my psychologist to bring policy in line with reality. Was at first stressed out because my named nurse said she’d asked my psychologist the same and then she’d refused. Thankfully, the psychologist sent me a nice E-mail saying more or less “sure, will do”.

  • Had art therapy yesterday and finished making an art doll for a mixed media swap. It’s made out of mostly “useless” materials. I have to send it out one of these days as the deadline for getting it in my partner’s hands is October 1. No picture yet as my art therapist can’t access her E-mail.


Healthy Living

I saw the dietician for the last time today. I’ve been trying to lose weight for months, but unsuccessfully so. Our agreement was that I’d stop going if I’d gained weight since the last appointment. Though I’d lost 1.2kg (not much for a three-week period), we decided to call it quits anyway. Our agreements are:


  • Focus more on exercise rather than mostly on eating, since I can’t seem to control my overeating.

  • Ask the nurses for help more when I’m stressed instead of going on a food haul. Someone need to accompany me to the store anyway so I may be able to switch my request to go to the store and buy candy over to a request for help regulating my stress.

  • Get weighed by the nurses once a month to make sure I’m keeping my weight stable. I’ll be weighed every first of the month so we have a base weight on Wednesday.

Reading, Writing, Blogging


  • Haven’t been blogging much and haven’t been content with my posts.

  • Did read and write a review of Working the Double Shift by Christine Motokane. Am somewhat content with my review and as I said then, loved the book.

  • Found out about the Typed Words, Loud Voices book project today and submitted a contribution. I’ve been asked either directly or indirectly to write for anthologies two other times, but this is the first time I actually submitted something. Fingers crossed that it’ll be accepted

The List

Recognizing the Good Mental Health Professional

Between all my medical and especially mental health problems, I can agree with the author of Handpicked Miracle that I’ve met more health providers than I have had friends (or family, as I have never had that many friends). In her most recent post, she lists a number of qualities of the good doctor.

It isn’t always easy to recognize whether your doctor or health provider has these qualities. When you rarely have to see them, it doesn’t really matter, unless they’re truly bad doctors who don’t listen and for that reason may end up making an incorrect diagnosis or initiating the wrong treatment. With doctors or professionals you’ll see more often or over a longer time period, especially mental health professionals, it’s a different story.

I was once told, by a psychiatrist who seemed really good on the surface, that I’d know whether a mental health provider was a good fit at the first meeting. She proved herself wrong when she reacted with snarky comments to any doubts I had about her approach, then ended up terminating our contact before it’d properly started. The reason she couldn’t proceed with my treatment wasn’t her fault, but the way she handled it – by not responding to my E-mails for over a month then bluntly telling me that she couldn’t take on my case after all -, certainly was.

The opposite can also be true, which is why I keep giving mental health professionals second and third and fourth and fifth chances. Then agian, I probably give them too many chances, because generally, if I still can’t get along with a provider after several sessions, we’re unlikely to ever truly click.

The most important qualities in a mental health professional are usually the same as those listed for dcotrs. Here, I’ll give a few examples of good and bad behavior from therapists and other mental health providers in each of these areas.

Collaborative. Of course, mental health patients are not always the most cooperative patients, and their behavior can be tough to handle. The good doctor still allows the patient to have as much control over their lives and the mental health aspects of it as is safe. For example, when the umpteenth benzodiazepine had stopped working as a PRN tranquilizer, my psychiatrist asked me if I’d ever tried any other medication that did work. I had tried promethazine in 2007 and it worked wonders. This is what she ended up prescribing and, though it doesn’t work as well as it did back then, it does have some effect. On the other hand, a former doctor I had ended up prescribing medication without my even having been informed of it and the nurses ended up pushing it on me. This same doctor enforced a seclusion policy on me then ended up saying I’d given consent (which is a legal requirement because I’m an informal patient).

Trustworthy. See above on the psychiatrist who couldn’t take on my case for an example of how mental health professionals shouldn’t act. As a positive example, my current therapist is leaving in a month, and she notified me as soon as possible. She also gave me a say in who would be my new treatment provider.

Intelligent. I generally click best with mental health providers who are knowledgeable, yet don’t act like they’re the absolute authority on mental health or on my mental health in particular. If I know more about my condition than my mental health provider, they’re not a good fit because I’ll be acting like a smartass in their face. For example, the authoritarian doctor who pretended I’d given consent for seclusion, on a different occasion, said that I didn’t have any axis I diagnoses and that all my problems were due to Asperger’s. I told her, in front of her supervisor and a few treatment team people, that Asperger’s is on axis I in DSM-IV.

Humble. While it’s not great if I know more about my conditon than my therapist or psychiatrist, it is good that we can shahre our knowledge.

Personable. It is important that a mental health professionals is interested in the whole patient, because mental health is such an integral part of their being. Sometimes, however, it gets a little on my nerves when doctors ask too many unrelated questions, because I tend to feel it’s a waste of treatment time.

Good listener: a good mental health professional reads between the lines when talking to their patients, yet does get the big picture. I remember when I went for my first psychiatric consultation in late 2006, I wasn’t ablee to say much. When I came back the next time, i’d brought a referral from my GP which basically said what the doctor already knew: that I shut down and wouldn’t talk. The doctor shredded the referral and asked some relatively direct questions. That is how we got talking about the reason I’d almost been kicked out of my place of residence and this is how she got to understanding my social and behavioral issues, which after a few more consultations led to my autism diagnosis. Opposite of this was the doctor who was told by the nurses that I might be depressed (for a reason I still don’t understand). He asked me a couple of standard screening questions yet hardy listened to my elaborate answers. He only said that I had some symptoms but not others. Well, as if I didn’t know that.

Confidence-building: this sums it up pretty much. If a doctor or mental health professional makes you feel like a piece of crap after a visit, that’s not good. It’s understandable that you’ll experience many emotions after discussing certain topics. However, this is not the same as having your confidence shredded. You need to be accepted in order to change. If a provider makes you feel like as a person you’re not acceptable, well, then they’re unlikely to be able to treat your mental health problem.

Week of August 11 to 17, 2014 #Mumslist

This week, Mums’ List is being hosted by Aby of You Baby Me Mummy because Hannah of Mums’ Days is on holiday. I haven’t reflected back on the week yet, so this is the perfect time to do so.

Real Life


  • Haven’t been too crafty this week. Finished a card for my mother. It was about time, because it’s an extremely late thank-you card for my birthday presents. I forgot to scan it before I put it in an envelope, so no picture, sorry. Other than that, I have only just started working on the Christmas card I said I’d make this week.

  • Received my art doll for a mixed media swap I’m in. Haven’t even started working on the one for my swap partner. The deadline isn’t until October 1.

  • Ate out twice this wek. Once, on Thursday, I took my husband to the local Chinese restaurant. I loved my gon bao chicken. On Friday, we ate out while we were shopping for jeans at a nearby wholesale store. Thankfully, I still fit in the same size I had last year – which is still three sizes above the size I always had, but well.

  • Had a horrible week re my eating habits. Binged on winegums on Friday so badly that I was sick all day yesterday. Got fries today anyway. Had binge eating episodes on two other days this week.

  • Did go to the gym on Thursday.

  • Both my computers are still working, but now my braille display is acting up.

  • Have been reading Angels at Our Table edited by Ann Breen. It’s a book of stories from families with Williams Syndrome children.

Blogging / Social Media


  • Started over with my Facebook page – again. This time, I was actually planning to stick to it, but since I hardly do photos and since WP won’t let me share posts to both my page and my profile, I really don’t know. I could seriously use some advice on what’s the point of a Facebook page and how to use it.

  • Did write not just one but two original blog posts.

  • New blog discovery: Edspire.

  • Most inspiring read: Emma’s guest post on fetal valproate syndrome for Victoria Welton’s blog. This is something I want to learn more about.

I don’t really have goals for the upcoming week, other than finally kicking binge eating’s arse. I have a dietician’s appointment on Friday and a therapy appointment on Tuesday. Will discuss the binge eating issue with my therapist – the dietician already knows.

First Step in Healing the Inner Baby

When I still had the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, my inner children came out relatively often to people I know. This is not common with DID I’m told, and was probably one reason for people not to believe me. I now have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and, while the inner children are still there, I keep them in hiding. I tend to believe that only the adult me is allowed to be out in the body.

This belief, however, is counterproductive to healing. When we want to heal, we need to acknowledge all parts of ourselves. We also need to validate our experiences. I strongly disagree with the idea, which is how my therapist used to word her inner child theory, that only the abandoned inner child should be allowed to come out because the rest are there to mask her. I consider my angry innenr child as important, and I for one don’t have a critical parent insider – all insiders are part of me.

Trust is the first step in healing your inner child(ren). They need to know that you will be there for them. In this step, I achieved something important in art therapy last Thursday. One of my inner children is the “mini baby”, a preemie in an incubator. She isn’t really active in the outside world, but I sense her. For clarity’s sake, while some people with DID have baby alters who hold traumatic memories, I don’t believe the mini baby is like this; she seems to be more a symbol for my early experiences.

Anyway, in art therapy, I created a baby out of clay and made a crib for her out of a cardboard box with fabric and fake fur bedding. Like I said, the inner baby isn’t a typical alter, so the symbolism was enough. It was more of a gesture to myself and my actual inner child alters to let them know I can be trusted and they will be cared for.

The second step is validation. I’m not sure I really need to validate the inner baby, since like I said she’s not a real alter. I mean, some people with DID give their inner babies pacifiers. I won’t do this. What I do feel that I need to acknowledge, is the fact that I was wounded from the beginning on. I don’t mean this to pass judgment on my family or the hospital staff. I was probably well cared for and had more interaction with my parents than many preemies from earlier generations or whose parents lived farther from the hospital. What I want to say is that, as much as families and hospitals try to prevent this, a NICU stay can entail a form of attachment loss and can, depending on the baby’s temperament, be traumatic. For now, the symbolism of the ceramic baby in the crib helped all of me.